Boost for our Admirals

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  • #14804

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    You have to see this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76L8XjDKZrM

    Some time ago we were approached by Kim Maree, who is studying at the University of Auckland and was making a short film about urban ecology, using Red and Yellow Admirals as a case study.

    What she has produced is a marvellous documentary (in my humble opinion) about the challenges that our Admiral butterflis and other endemic wildlife are facing.

    Let’s promote this film far and wide, I think the interviews that she has recorded make a great case for saving the Admirals.

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 26 total)
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  • #27416

    Darren
    Participant

    Thanks Jane, that is a help. I’ll add updating the factsheet to my to-do list.

    #27369

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi Darren,

    “Stems with few if any lateral branches” means One stem with no others coming off it from the sides.

    “Stem with lateral branches usually present” into very small words for me?” means one stem typically with small branchlets coming off from the sides of it.
    and……
    Secondary branches or lateral branches are mainly horizontal on the main branch.

    and…”Does that mean U. dioica doesn’t have secondary branches off its main branches while U. urens does?” – YES, simply, that is exactly what it means.

    And…. the petioles are proportionately shorter in U. dioica than in U. urens.

    In my opinion, hte easiest way to tell the two apart is the colour and texture of the individual leaves. U. urens being very bright green and not particularly hairy, and in U. dioica the leaves are more of a dull grayish green, not as shiny. The U. dioica leaf in very hairy to the touch.

    I hope this helps – really when the two are seen together, the differences are quite appreciable……Jane

    #27361

    Darren
    Participant

    Do they have any other distinguishing features apart from their height?

    Jane can you translate “Stems with few if any lateral branches” vs “Stem with lateral branches usually present” into very small words for me? According to http://www.buffalobonsaisociety.com/Botany_Basics_Part_1.html
    “Secondary branches or lateral branches are mainly horizontal on the main branches that create the outline of the tree.”

    Does that mean U. dioica doesn’t have secondary branches off its main branches while U. urens does?

    Also according to my dictionary the petiole is the stalk of a leaf and the lamina is the flat part of a leaf. So does that mean that with U. dioica the leaves have proportionally shorter stalks than with U. urens?

    #27356

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi Darren,

    What Terry says is correct in that if the two varieties are growing side-by-side they are very different.

    If I can be of any help with the botanical descriptives, give me a call. Jacqui has the phone number…..Jane

    #27355

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi Darren

    When you see them actually growing together they are very easy to tell apart, Urtica Urens is a lot smaller, Urtica Dioica, grows in huge beds and is much bigger. I realise it’s difficult to tell with just photos.

    #27351

    Darren
    Participant

    Thanks Terry, I had a look and there certainly are some great photos there. The problem I had was that I looked at your photos labelled Urtica Dioica and Urtica Urens and I was struggling to spot the difference.

    NZ Flora tells me that U.diocia is

    Rhizomatous, erect perennial, usually dioecious, rarely with a few fls of the other sex, moderately clothed in short-stalked stinging hairs, otherwise sparsely to densely hairy. Stems with few if any lateral branches, up to 1.5 m high. Lvs broadly lanceolate or ovate, acute to acuminate, usually cordate at base, occasionally truncate, coarsely serrate, (5)-6-20-(25) cm long. Petiole up to ? as long as lamina. Stipules 4 per node, entire, 4-20 mm long. Racemes unisexual, up to 9 cm long. Perianth segments of ? fls very unequal, hairy; margins glabrous. Achene ellipsoid, light brown, c. 1.5 mm long.

    while U.urens is

    Shallowly taprooted, erect monoecious annual, moderately clothed in short-stalked stinging hairs, otherwise sparsely to densely hairy. Stem with lateral branches usually present, up to 60 cm high. Lvs ovate or elliptic, acute, obtuse to truncate at base, coarsely serrate, (1)-2-8-(10) cm long. Petiole c. ? as long as lamina. Stipules 4 per node, entire, 1-3 mm long. Racemes with numerous ? and ? fls, up to 1.5-(3) cm long. Perianth segments of ? fls extremely unequal, glabrous to hairy; margins ciliate. Achene ovoid, light brown, 1.5-2 mm long. FL Jan-Dec.

    Unfortunately I have not the slightest idea what all that means!

    Even when I look at pictures like these I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be looking for:

    http://delta-intkey.com/angio/images/ebo12791.jpg

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/dc/Illustration_Urtica_dioica0_clean.jpg/373px-Illustration_Urtica_dioica0_clean.jpg

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_-dOvaMeXdoE/TQjTr_MFiiI/AAAAAAAAARs/0XXbID_HzZs/s1600/Urtica_urens_Sturm40.jpg

    #27348

    cosmos
    Participant

    Hi Terry, I too find that Urtica Urens likes the vege patch and last year I had plenty of caterpillars. In spring I pulled out the seedlings from the vege patch because a lot of very healthy looking Urens had come up under and near the lemon tree (probably from my compost which I’d spread around) but I had very few caterpillars this year. I’ve now pulled up the ones that have gone to seed and after checking for caterpillars tossed the plants into a corner of the vege garden so we’ll see how next summer goes. Love all your photos.

    Anna Barnett, thanks for the offer of caterpillars. I’ll contact you.

    #27345

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi Darren

    There are some photos of Urtica Dioica and Urtica Urens on this page of my picasa, you are welcome to take what you like from it to use for Monarch Trust fact-sheets if you would like to use them.

    https://picasaweb.google.com/trsmithers/MoreVanessamansPhotos#

    #27343

    Darren
    Participant

    Thanks Jane, I have updated our factsheet accordingly.

    Our factsheet could also be improved by some photos. I’m reluctant to pinch other people’s photos off the internet, so how about you nettle fanciers taking some nice photos of your collections and sending them in? Perhaps one of the whole plant and a close up of a mature leaf?

    #27342

    Jennifer
    Participant

    How do you tell the difference between urens & dioica?

    #27334

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi Darren,

    And…

    Urtica australis – A large leaved stinging nettle from the Chathams and Stewart Is.

    #27332

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Thanks Darren – does anyone know which species grows in Cornwall Park, Auckland?

    #27330

    Darren
    Participant

    I often get confused about which nettle is which.

    Urtica dioica
    Also known as Common nettle or stinging nettle. It is a native of Europe, Asia, North America, and North Africa.

    Urtica urens
    Also known as Dwarf Nettle. It is a native of Europe and North America.

    NZ Nettles are

    Urtica ferox also known as Ongaonga or tree nettle. It is endemic to New Zealand.

    Urtica incisa
    Also known as Pureora or scrub nettle. It is native to New Zealand and SE Australia.

    Urtica linearifolia
    Also known as Swamp nettle and creeping nettle.

    Urtica aspera
    This is an uncommon nettle from the South Island.

    https://www.monarch.org.nz/other-species/factsheets/plants/beginners-guide-to-nettles/

    #27329

    Stefan Olson
    Participant

    Terry,

    I had admirals laying on Dioica last year, so don’t give up! I have found that here at least, they are quite happy to lay on the Chatham Islands nettles, and to a lesser extent Ferox and urens, but I don’t have much of that here as the whitefly keep destroying it

    …Stefan

    #27308

    Terry
    Participant

    Answer to Jane, from Terry moved by Terry to correct thread

    Hi Jane

    You are correct, in that Urtica Urens originally comes from Europe. However Urtica Dioica is far more prevalent in the UK. Maybe your Urtica Dioica pot is in the wrong position, changing it’s position may get results. Butterflies can be very selective at times.
    As for Urtica Urens being more common in NZ than Urtica Dioica, this could be down to the fact that your winters are less severe and as you state it continues through the winter period. In the UK it is killed by frosts and only the dormant seeds survive to the following year. Urtica Dioica being a perennial rather than annual like Urtica Urens, regenerates quickly in the early spring from root stock and autumn produced seeds, in sheltered locations it forms small winter rosettes that survive even under snow, Urtica Urens appears in the spring much later.

    #27307

    Terry
    Participant

    Moved by Terry to the correct Thread from Admiral Project, posted by Jane

    Hi Terry,

    It sure sounds like you have succeeded in continuing the itea line…and just when you were thinking you could have a rest!

    Urtica urens – I don’t know why, but I always thought it was from the UK (this probably belongs under the other thread, but we are all going backwards and forwards discussing admirals and their host plants, and being tired tonight I just thought I would continue the discussion here) I had always imagined that there would be heaps of U. urens growing everywhere there, so interesting to hear that it is the U. dioica that is more prolific.

    I have thrown seed of U. urens all over the place here to see where it will grow including down near the railway lines behind my place. Interestingly it sporadically comes up here and there and some along the railway lines, BUT, by far prefers the vege patch here, probably because that is the area that gets the most fresh compost, and is raised, offering the plants an excellent root-run and prolific nitrogen resources too from regular green/cover crops.

    My U. dioica is still restricted to a large pot, as it can become a run-away weed here, so I don’t think I should let it out. It has been there for 3 years and no sign of any Admiral larvae at all. I’m wondering if I should get rid of it?!? Opinions welcome.

    #27285

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi Jane

    I find my Itea will lay on and eat any type of stinging Nettle, but I have noticed that they prefer to lay on Urtica Urens, when I have high numbers of Itea flying and small nettles of many types growing, they will sometimes plaster the Urtica Urens with so many eggs it looks like they have turned in to egg batch layers like our Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks. I think this preference is inherited because this is the most often encountered Nettle in NZ. whereas in the UK the most common Nettle by far is Urtica Dioica. Urtica Urens is very localised in the UK.

    #27280

    Anna
    Participant

    Sue…if you would like some Admiral eggs or tiny caterpillars, I have lots spare that you are welcome to. They are a mix of Reds and Yellows. ph 027 460 3039.

    #27279

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi Terry and Norm,

    I couldn’t agree more that habitat loss is the key issue. No host plant = no caterpillar, and the same for all other species.

    Hi Sue,

    I have all the types of nettles here, and most remain untouched by the Admirals with the exception of the U. Urens which is constantly a host. It seems the caterpillars/butterflies prefer U. urens to the others in my garden. It maybe because the other nettles appear to have defined seasons here, but the U. urens are obliging at all times, and are really good at seeding around too. There are always healthy specimens of U. urens when the other nettles are looking less than desirable.

    As for the Lemons, well maybe encourage a patch of nettle elsewhere to see if it is the citrus that is putting them off. I would be interested to hear how that goes.

    #27272

    Terry
    Participant

    Thanks for your support Norm,
    I am always nervous of really upsetting people with what I say. I can’t help myself, the truth always means more to me than the fantasy that legal protection or restriction of trade of a species will somehow save it from extinction. Some greens are scary people, I remember when I was younger going out one evening with my brother, in the early spring to help move migrating toads across a busy road in buckets to their breeding pond and meeting some other people who had the same idea. However these people were militant fluffy bunny greens, and they asked me to sign a petition to outlaw fox-hunting and pheasant shooting in the UK (now fox-hunting is outlawed in this country although no one respects the ban), when I tried to explain that I was not a fox hunter myself or a shooting person but that the woodland and countryside environment was only preserved by the landowners because of their involvement and that other wild-life benefited from this pastime, they turned very violent and threatened to smash my car up and do even worse physically to us both. I learned a very good lesson that day, that just because someone is passionate about animals does not mean they are automatically caring, intelligent or reasonable, many are totally narrow minded and will not listen to any scientific argument, they just run on pure passion and will not tolerate a different view, you find this often with religious zealots as well.

    #27269

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Well said Terry. Habitat loss is certainly one of the biggest issues facing all countries, but little is being done to rectify the matter. South America’s deforestation to create more farms to grow GM crops, mining and timber milling is a good example. Even the authorities have not stopped the destruction of the forests in Mexico where the Monarchs migrate to overwinter. Profiteering by those who are in control is a big problem, swamping conservation concerns.
    Progress is the big push.
    New Zealand is still a young country but there are already indications of reduced populations of some lepidoptera species.

    #27267

    Terry
    Participant

    I just watched this video on youtube and I thought it was very good! The only minor problem was that it contradicted itself near the end when, I think it was the radio host that complained about the case of the Skinks being smuggled out of the country and then a few minutes later complained that some butterfly breeders in the UK cared about Yellow and Red Admirals more than the New Zealanders. Does he realise that if export restrictions applied to Butterflies we enthusiasts in the UK would not have the means to care more or study these butterflies and share our Knowledge with you, at all. “Make up your mind what you want mate”! And just because these Skinks are worth money and even if they are rare does not mean they will all be bought by idiots, Many rare species of reptile can be bred in huge numbers in captivity just like butterflies and can be then supplied to other enthusiasts, without depleting any more wild stock. I am not defending the smuggling of these Skinks, If they are protected by law then those caught cannot complain if they are punished , but just because we have certain laws in place does not automatically mean they are right or good for the conservation of those species. The only way to protect any species is to protect or restore the habitat they need to thrive in.
    I noticed the radio host, had a T Shirt on with a quote written on it that I could only read part of, but it reminded me of a quote from an old Cree Indian chief about what the white man in North America was like, “Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money. Am I correct? If I am correct then that chief was talking about Habitat Protection, pure and simple! In so many words that the natural world is more important than making money, In the future many species will have to be kept in captivity because of what we humans will do to the earth so I would suggest the more people learn by breeding in captivity these rare species the more chance of keeping them going, and they can’t do that if they cannot keep them or export them because of ill thought out laws. It’s a very good thing to be green and think green but keep your common sense and reasoning intact while you do it!
    As I have stated before, In Europe we have rare Butterflies protected by law that are so easy to breed in captivity that we cannot get rid of our excess stock. They are endangered in the wild for one reason and one only, Habitat loss and destruction! No amount of protection legislation will save them if the Habitat is not there to support them.
    I am sorry if my view upsets some people but I feel very strongly about ill thought out statements, from those who should know better and especially who have the ears of possibly millions of radio listeners who could be wrongly informed as to the real issues behind Butterfly or other wildlife decline.
    P.S. I don’t make money out of my Butterflies, I receive free and I share for free!

    #27261

    cosmos
    Participant

    Hi Norm
    Thanks for the info. There didn’t seem to be as many Admirals about my garden this summer. A big patch of nettle came up under my lemon tree but not much was eaten and I saw very few caterpillars. Maybe the butterflys don’t like being around lemon trees.

    #27251

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Hi Sue,

    Red admirals will oviposit (lay eggs) on Urtica urens quite readily, if the butterflies are in your area.

    #27249

    cosmos
    Participant

    Thanks for the youtube link. I have a patch of urtica urens for the Admirals but will get seeds for urtica incisa for next spring to encourage the Reds.

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