Terry's Admiral Project in Britain update?

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #14476

    Jane
    Participant

    Hey Terry,

    How did your admiral project get through? I remember at one stage you Admirals were looking like they might not make it through, and seeing your name in the forum has made me wonder how you got on………I think you were down to a last few at one point…..any chance of an update?

    Regards and best wishes – Jane

Viewing 25 replies - 876 through 900 (of 985 total)
  • Author
    Replies
  • #26285

    Jane
    Participant

    So sorry to hear that news Terry 🙁

    What will you do now?

    Jane

    #26278

    Terry
    Participant

    Sorry to report no eggs laid, looks like they are to old to reproduce!

    #26244

    Terry
    Participant

    Weather bad here again! Female under artificial light day 2, but no eggs laid as yet!

    #26240

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Toes crossed for you as well Terry!

    #26232

    Jane
    Participant

    Fingers Crossed!

    #26222

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Wow, Terry, amazing. Fingers crossed!

    #26219

    Terry
    Participant

    Something amazing to report!
    I came home from work yesterday afternoon and went over to the Butterfly House, to see if any Itea were still alive, (I check every day). It had been a sunny day with a big drop in air pressure as a low pressure rain front was heading our way from the SW, when I went in to count the Itea I found to my amazement a pairing. The Butterflies are so old and tatty I could not believe what I was seeing. I have no idea if the female will be fertile but have placed her in a plastic box in my kitchen under a lamp with a pot of nettles to see what happens. So far nothing! It would be a miracle if I could build my stock back up from a single pairing. The stock is so inbred after 13 years, but the gene pool is clean and that?s what really matters. You can start with a dozen Butterflies but if there is a poor gene pool this will spread through the stock and weaken them over time.
    I must admit I don’t think I will succeed but it’s worth a try. ?It?s not over until the fat lady sings? as the old saying goes, so if you know her tell her to shut up for a while!
    It is a truism that we never stop learning in this life unless we deliberately choose to, and I can categorically state that nature never ceases to amaze me.

    #26218

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Thanks Norm, that makes me feel MUCH better, sorry, younger.

    #26217

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    George Burns, an American comedian who was still performing on TV and stage in his nineties had a pet saying:

    “You can’t stop getting older – but you don’t have to be old.”

    #26216

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Thanks Darren. I’m getting old. And my brain is getting older.

    #26213

    Darren
    Participant

    Jacqui, 10% bleach for 2-3 minutes would probably dissolve the entire egg! That link uses 20mL Bleach in 400mL water which is 5%

    #26211

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Hi Darren and Jane

    Thanks

    I went back to Plan A and contacted Auckland museum.
    Just had a really helpful reply from John Early.
    The Museum might be able to freshen it up for us 🙂

    Darren, I have had the scarypants about this jar for years and your caution about combustibilty only increased it slighty more!!!!

    Best
    Trisha

    #26204

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Edith (my Florida advisor) advised me to sterilse Monarch eggs/leaves in a 10% solution of bleach, for 2-3 minutes, then rinse it off well. Least I think it was that formula… but you can see more here:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/floridabutterflyfarm#p/u/7/i6Ico9Z7xVc

    Jacqui

    Footnote: My quantities/times above were wrong – check next messages from Darren etc.

    #26200

    Anna
    Participant

    Thanks for all the info. I decided to just leave the sterilizing for the moment as they have decided to hatch, but may do it to the next batch with the bleach etc.

    #26188

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi Darren
    Thank you for dealing with my request to explain the best methods of sterilizing Butterfly eggs. I felt it only correct that I hand this over to someone with a chemistry background as I would not want anyone to get poisoned or worse using formaldehyde, I have used it for many years but I am very careful with it. I was shown how to use it safely by a chemist who ran his own pharmacy and he would not provide it to anyone who didn’t show some common sense. Bernie is also correct about using sodium metabisulphite, I have used this but found it didn’t do the job as well a formaldehyde, however that was probably down to me giving up to soon without experimenting with quantities and sterilization times. Like all methods it takes a bit of patience and research before you master the technique. I always worry about giving advice on matters I am unsure of, I would not want to see these chemicals misused and members harm themselves in the process, so I am very grateful for the additional information you have provided. After what has been written on this forum by Darren and Bernie I think it best that members of Monarch trust avoid Formaldehyde and stick with the safer chemicals, I will probably switch myself just to be safe.

    #26181

    Darren
    Participant

    As far as I know, Formalin was the most common method of preserving specimens back then, which is basically formaldehyde with some other stuff to stabilise it. Sorry if I was a little over cautious Trisha, but when I was working for the DSIR we were who everybody called when they had a nasty chemical they wanted to make disappear. You wouldn’t believe some of the crazy things I have seen. People bringing in mercury in a beer bottle, stuff like that.

    #26173

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi Trisha,

    I was thinking it may be worth emailing Te Papa Attn Museum of natural history. They have probably had enquiries along those lines before. They could probably tell you who to talk to.

    Regards – Jane

    #26169

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Thanks very much, Darren.
    Grief – I had no intention of doing any with it myself – nor letting my 30yo son.
    It is heavily sealed around the top and I guess we have been very lucky it has never been broken or leaked.
    Thanks for the tip about the university. I was thinking about the museum. There is no value to the specimens – just the family tales of who caught what.
    No worry if they have to be destroyed – but I certainly wouldn’t think about doing that myself either.
    It would be amusing to find they were preserved in vinegar or something harmless after my panics all these years.
    My grandfather was a scientist so I suspect something more sinister, though.
    Cheers, and thanks for the tip
    Trisha

    #26168

    Darren
    Participant

    Ok you are quite right not to give it to your grandson!

    Formaldehyde is a combustible liquid which can be fatal if swallowed, in contact with skin, or if inhaled.

    It may cause an allergic skin reaction and is suspected of causing genetic defects as well as being a known carcinogen.

    It also may cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure, and causes severe skin burns and eye damage.

    Nowadays they use propylene glycol based alternatives for preserving specimens. Transferring the specimens could be tricky though. I wouldn’t go anywhere near it without a full face-piece chemical cartridge respirator with organic vapour cartridges.

    My advice would be to speak to the biology department of your nearest university.

    Even if you were prepared to lose the specimens, disposal is tricky since it is toxic to aquatic life, Very toxic to the soil environment,and toxic to terrestrial vertebrates. In that case you should probably contact your local council and ask to talk to somebody about hazardous waste disposal.

    #26167

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Off topic for butterflies – but wondering if anyone can suggest a solution to my problem of an aged jar containing formaldehyde (I think)and insects and more – like a chameleon and a couple of small snakes.
    The liquid is very discoloured now. It’s nearly 100 years old and the contents were collected by my dad and his brother during childhood in Rhodesia.
    My son wants it now for his son, but I’d like to get it resorted somehow and made safer. I have worried about it getting broken and spilling formaldehyde for a very long while.
    It has been a source of interest for all the children through the fmaily over the years.
    Whoever would I take it to?
    Thanks
    Trisha

    #26165

    Bernie
    Participant

    Hi All
    I taught A level chemistry for 27 years and wouldn’t touch formaldehyde with a bargepole in the butterfly greenhouse.I would use sodium metabisulphite which here in GB is sold as a nappy steriliser.

    #26164

    Darren
    Participant

    Formaldehyde is very nasty stuff to start with, but if it gets anywhere near hydrochloric acid it can make another chemical that is a hundred times nastier. I won’t bore you with the chemistry, but many labs are moving away from using formaldehyde, and I would strongly recommend sticking with bleach.

    If you use bleach, be sure to use bleach which does not have soap added at the factory. There are several recipes to sterilize eggs: 1. Soak Monarch eggs in a solution of 2% bleach/98% water for two minutes. Rinse well immediately. 2. Soak Monarch eggs in a solution of 5% bleach/95% water for 60 seconds. Rinse immediately. 3. Monarch Watch recommends a 100ppm oxine solution to sterilize eggs.
    We watched this happen under a microscope with bleach. Less time, such as 50 seconds with 5% bleach solution, is not enough to kill OE spores. Be sure to leave them for a GOOD 60 seconds or a little bit longer with a 5% solution. (Bleach can dissolve the eggs. Be sure not to use too strong of a solution or too leave the eggs in the solution for too long. Do a trial with a few eggs before sterilizing a large amount of eggs.) This dissolves the chorion (outer waxy layer of the egg) which could be contaminated with butterfly scales and OE spores. There are two methods of bleaching eggs. One method is to simply cut the leaves and stems to fit into a small container. Add the bleach/water solution to the container with leaves and eggs already in it. The second method is to remove the eggs from the leaves. To do so, simply wait 24 hours after they are laid and gently rub the eggs with your finger. They will roll right off the leaves. Simply pour the bleach/water solution over the eggs in a container. After 60 seconds, we pour the solution through a piece of sheer curtian material. A net will often have holes much too large and the eggs will fall through. Some eggs will come off the leaves when you soak them, this is fine. Rinse well by placing the eggs into another container and soaking them a minute in clear water. Pour through your material again and allow the eggs and leaves to drip dry. Cover the eggs and leaves with a sterile paper towel to keep them clean until they are dry. Add fresh new growth leaves daily to the container in which you place the eggs. Removal of the chorion leaves the eggs succeptable to dehydration. Adding fresh leaves daily is a method of adding moisture without adding water. It also gives the babies fresh food to eat.
    http://www.butterflyfunfacts.com/oe.php

    #26161

    Terry
    Participant

    The larvae just collapse and turn to liquid and the pupae turn black. Sometimes the disease is one where the larvae just die and shrivel up. It depends on the type of disease and there are many variants. You should not have too many problems if you don’t overcrowd your stock and keep cages or flight area clean.

    #26157

    Anna
    Participant

    Did the caterpillars/stock just suddenly die without warning, or did they look sick first?
    Mine are getting the utmost attention at the moment, seeing I am such a newbie with Admirals:)

    #26160

    Terry
    Participant

    I would not worry too much about sterilizing eggs unless you have an outbreak of disease in the stock. Spring time stock is normally very healthy. Viral/Bacterial diseases tend to break out when stock is overcrowded or in late summer when the foodplants are in poor condition and the tannins in the leaves are high. Plants that are under attack from Aphids cause major problems to livestock. Keep the butterfly enclosure if you have one, or cages washed down just as the plants would be in a rain storm in the wild. I don’t have a misting system fitted in the butterfly house so I wash down by hose with a fine shower rose attached. Ultra violet from sunlight also destroys disease pathogens, so I always have plants outside in natural light to swap on occasion with the ones in the butterfly house, so it is a wash down followed by removing the washed plants outside and then replacing the ones inside (Rotating the stock). This can really help matters. However as you know from my posts on this forum even the best measures don’t always succeed. If I had not had the massive disease outbreak I suffered last autumn, my yellow admirals would probably have got through even this terrible UK winter, but alas I lost all the small autumn larvae that would have normally replenished the Adult stock during mid winter.

Viewing 25 replies - 876 through 900 (of 985 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.