New Member on NZ Admirals

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  • #12840

    Terry
    Participant

    HellO! I am a lepidopterist from the UK who is very interested in the Butterflies of New Zealand, in fact I have a small butterfly house in which for the last 10 years I have been breeding Yellow Admirals(Bassaris Itea), my original Stock came from the Christchurch area and were sent to another Lepidopterist in the UK for scientific research. I have also bred the New Zealand Red Admiral (Bassaris Gonerilla)"definitely the most beautiful of the worlds admirals", in captivity but not over such a long period. I visited New Zealand briefly in January 1993 and was amazed how few butterflies I actualy encountered and how difficult I found it to find Stinging Nettles. In the UK stinging nettles are so common that you only have to walk to the nearest road verge to find many patches growing. I know the nettle species you have are different but I did not realise how hard to find they are! Was I just visiting the wrong areas, Auckland & Mangahwai heads, or are nettles quite rare in NZ. Do you have the perennial Stinging nettle (Urtica Dioica)in NZ? I know that the Small Nettle (Urtica Urens) was accidently introduced! Any information would be greatly appreciated! One species other than the Small White Butterflies I saw in plentiful supply was the Monarch especially around the Papatoetoe area and many of the Swan Plants I saw had been stripped bare by the larvae. Other species seen were Common Copper, Grass Blue, 1 Yellow Admiral and many Long Tailed Blues at Mangawhai heads flying around Gorse bushes. Please keep up the good work at the Monarch Trust, NZ has few butterflies but what it does have are very unique and well worth preserving.

Viewing 8 replies - 76 through 83 (of 83 total)
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  • #16076

    VickySteele
    Participant

    Hi Terry – I will read your document with interest. I’ve had my first go at Yellow Admirals this year – and was rewarded with a crop of very healthy little butterflies. I put my nettle in a pot and brought it inside when I guessed the caterpillars were 5th instar so they could pupate safely. Since then, word must’ve got around because I’ve had far more Admirals in my garden than ever before, so it was well worth the effort. They can be quite aggressive, can’t they! I’ve often noticed them ganging up on my monarchs (especially males) and chasing them off.

    #16064

    Terry
    Participant

    Hello again! I hope the Document on My Yellow Admiral breeding Programme is of help to all you NZrs who are trying to help your Native Butterflies to survive. In The early 1990s I bred Monarchs (Monarchs are not found naturally in the UK)in captivity in roughly the same manner as the Yellow Admirals the main difference being the Foodplants,(Admirals eat Nettles) I used Asclepius Curassavica, this Milkweed is easy to grow and can be grown en-masse in deep plant trays or big pots placed on the greenhouse/Butterfly house benches, the best thing is that if the temperature is not allowed to fall below +5 deg C in the winter this plant recovers very quickly in the spring and is ready for the Imagines to lay on as soon as they become active after their winter hibernation, I overwintered my Imagines in the greenhouse, they roosted in the Lemon Tree and flew on warm days just to feed and then return to the tree. I used to have 10 big trays planted with these milkweeds with 5 in the greenhouse and 5 outside recovering from being stripped bare by the previous generations larvae. Using this method I always had a supply of foodplant available for my larvae. One difference with breeding monarchs in the UK is that the foodplant does not occur naturally as it does in the USA so if you do not grow enough foodplants you are really stuck. The Milkweeds I tried on my larvae were Asclepius Curassavica, Asclepius Syriaca, Asclepius Incarnata, I know that other Lepidopterists in the UK have other species including Asclepius Speciosa, but I have to say in my experience none compare to Asclepius Curassavica.

    Terry

    #16063

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi guys, I photographed these Red Admirals this afternoon, came home early to find the Buddleia bush covered in Monarchs and four Red Admirals. Album link: http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/558472908PMrIjb
    Check out: Yellow Admirals, Album link: http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/558205147nBCqnh.

    Ken.

    #16061

    Gilly
    Participant

    Oh, have just downloaded this… will read tomorrow but looks very interesting!!!!

    #16060

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Terry’s document is fascinating, and can be downloaded from here:

    http://bitbybit.co.nz/business/files/YlwAd.pdf

    Terry and I will be interested to hear others’ thoughts.

    Jacqui

    #16034

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Sure Terry — you can send me that — my email is jacqui@monarch.org.nz.

    Would be thrilled to learn more about what you are doing.

    Cheers

    Jacqui

    #16031

    Terry
    Participant

    Thank you Jacqui for the swift reply to my first posting. I find that Urtica dioica is the best Nettle for all Vanessa nettle feeders, the best because it is so persistant and even in the winter in the south east of England you can find small winter buds that my Yellow Admiral larvae will eat, I have actually gone out and brushed away snow in order to find food for my stock. As you may have guessed by now I keep my stock going through our winter in all stages of development, I have Imagines in the Butterfly House (heated to just above freezing on very cold nights in winter)Ova and Larvae growing indoors in Plastic rearing boxes and Pupae at all stages, doing this makes sure that if a disaster occurs at any stage I have back up stock and believe me it does go wrong at times. I have gone from having over 300 Imagines down to 7 due to Viral/bacterial disease outbreaks in the larval stage and as you can imagine it takes up a lot of my spare time, however I have never had to re-introduce fresh outside stock into my gene pool they have all decended from the original 7 imagines, all approx 60+ generations.
    I would like to post some Photos on this site at some time but have not worked out how to do it yet. As for the long tailed blues you can find them (if they are still there)I saw them Second week of January 1993, by walking on to the beach at Mangawhai heads turn left and walk about half a mile until I came accross the sand dunes with the gorse growing on them just before the rocks. Also I saw Common coppers flying around the Meuhlenbekia growing in clumps next to the path that leads on to the beach.
    Is it possible for me to send an email attachment to you with a word document about my Yellow Admiral breeding programme.

    Cheers

    Terry

    #16029

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Hi Terry

    Great to hear from you!

    I’d be interested to know what part of the UK you’re in. We have several members in the UK and love to hear their ideas and feedback.

    We find the Monarchs are great ambassadors for the butterfly world over here. Not many NZers know that we have beautiful Admiral butterflies, they are far less common now than they were in 1989 when the Ent. Assn put out an ID chart.

    We do have U. dioica here, but I think it also is an import.

    I am not sure which one I have growing here, but I’m trying to increase it to help the Admirals. It’s certainly not Ongaonga (U. ferox) but I was given some seed of that and have encouraged other people to plant it. I must contact the garden centre that provided it for me to see what they’ve got available as plants.

    Good to hear from you Terry! Hope to see more of you here.

    I would love to see Long-tailed Blues… maybe a trip to Mangawhai Heads is in order!

    Cheers

    Jacqui

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