Saturday, August 04, 2007
There was an article in yesterday's OC Register about the decline in butterfly species counts this year as compared to last year. I would link to that article (front page, no less!) except either I or the Reg's website is too lame. Oh, wait, here's the link. Thanks Cindy! Anyway, yeah, there do seem to be fewer numbers of butterflies overall, although I have seen a good amount of species (maybe just a few of each) this year.
Meanwhile moths, the close kin of butterflies, seem to be taking up the slack. While some species of lepidopterans use only one or a few plant species as larval food, still it seems possible the lack of butterfly larvae has opened up resources for egg-laying moths and their hatchlings. Walking past or dragging a hose through the shrubbery raises clouds of brownish, greyish, smallish moths. And the geometrid caterpillars (inchworms) are in abundance in the usual places (composite flower disks).
Of course, the Peter Bryant mentioned in the OC Reg article is the same PJ Bryant of Natural History of OC fame. The number of insect and arachnid species pictured on his site keeps growing. Thanks Peter and Ron!