Terry's Admiral Project in Britain update?

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    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 - 901 through 925 (of 985 total)
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  • #26158

    Anna
    Participant

    Thanks again for that Terry. I am going to try to get the formaldehyde at the chemist tomorrow. I’ll be very careful ie: use gloves, long tweezers, mask etc. ( I have used it in the past preserving specimens etc) Or else I read you can use bleach?
    Never mind…this time I may be too late, as the eggs are now 6 days old, and I can see the little caterpillars forming in the eggshells, so they may hatch out before I can do them. If they do, I’ll be more prepared for the next batch….theres only about 30 eggs that I can find so far.

    #26154

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi Anna

    I might add that you can also use sterilising fluids like those used to sterilise baby feed bottles, but be careful with these as they can soften and damage butterfly eggs if they are soaked for to long. Formaldehyde is far more dangerous to humans if misused but seems to work better than the other products on butterfly eggs. Be very careful if you do decide to use formaldehyde as it is very dangerous if safety precautions are not taken
    I think it?s time for me to pass this one over to Darren for a detailed explanation of the chemicals in each product if he is willing, as he is a chemical expert and I am most certainly not! I have a ?safe handling storage and use of Chemicals Certificate? gained at a company I used to work for, but no other qualifications in this area.

    #26146

    Anna
    Participant

    Thanks for that info Terry…I have been learning so much from your project!

    #26139

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi Anna

    After I have sterilized the eggs (on the leaves) in formaldehyde for (Approx 10 mins) and rinsed them in fresh water (of the same temperature), the leaves are immediately placed on absorbent kitchen paper towels until dry. The leaves are then placed in to the plastic box for the larvae to hatch. When the larvae hatch from the eggs, I place fresh clean foodplant in for them to crawl on to and feed. If you are feeding them live growing foodplant just place the leaves with the fresh larvae on to a part of the foodplant and they will move across of there own accord.
    I have paired up V Atalanta the European Red Admiral, under artificial halogen light in the past, and Cynthia Cardui, The Painted lady, but never tried with Yellow Admirals, I don’t have the time to do this because of work commitments and you have to be available to monitor temperatures when using artificial light as cages can overheat very quickly

    Hi Blutterfy, Many thanks keep singing!

    #26119

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi Terry,
    “Did you by any chance, dance the sun dance for me only it was sunny today”
    No I didn’t do the dance, BUT, I DID sing along, and with your project in GB very much in mind.

    I will repeat and see what happens….I do hope you haven’t seen the last viable eggs Terry. That would be very sad after all these years, and with warmer weather just around the corner….. off to Utube for a song…

    Jane

    #26116

    Anna
    Participant

    I’ve had a look at your photos, and what a neat project you have had raising all those butterflies. Its good to see the pics.
    Re: the cold…would a sunlamp help get just a few to survive?
    Fingers crossed some survive for you…

    #26115

    Anna
    Participant

    I have a question for you Terry (I have learnt a lot reading your posts etc, so thanks very much)
    When you have removed the leaves from the plants, and sterilised them, and put them in little trays etc, to hatch, did they easily transfer onto fresh new leaves? (You may have mentioned this, but I can’t remember reading that step)
    I have got the eggs on the plants rescued from the garden sitting in jars of water…they were laid 5 days ago.

    #26110

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Sorry to hear this, Terry.
    If the weather keeps warting you might get another generation started?
    How very sad to see it end after so long.
    Best
    Trisha

    #26109

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi Butterfly

    Did you by any chance, dance the sun dance for me only it was sunny today. However although the temperature got up to 28C in the Butterfly House there were no pairings and no eggs laid. I think they are just to old and tatty now. It looks like this is the end of the project but I will allow them to die of old age just to see how long they can last and then it’s time to re-net the Butterfly House and rebuild the benches that are falling to bits. I have no idea what species I will be doing next, I will have to give it some thought. For a while I will possibly breed some Vanessa Atalanta this year for something to do and of course with these I have the added advantage that I can release excess stock to the wild, unlike the Itea which I could not release because they are not native anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere.

    #26088

    Jane
    Participant

    The American and Canadian Indians have an amazing sun dance. Examples an be seen on a search of Sun dance in Utube. Don’t know what the neighbors would say though Terry! :/

    #26071

    Terry
    Participant

    No change in the weather! I have been looking at pictures of the sun to remind myself what it looks like, it’s been so long since I have seen it. Amazingly I still have a few Itea left, I just pray there are males and females and that we get some warm sunshine soon!

    #25962

    Terry
    Participant

    Sorry to say, nothing to report as yet! Weather still cloudy and cold! What an unbelievable winter!

    #25891

    Terry
    Participant

    The weather here is being very cruel to me this year! I just cannot seem to get any days with enough sunshine to get the Butterfly House hot enough to get eggs and or new pairings and my stock is getting older by the day. Today I picked up some more dead butterflies. I am losing hope now, but you just never know when our weather will change, so maybe just maybe? Some good news though, a fellow Entomologist who lives in the south west of England and gets winter sunshine when we don’t has managed to get V Gonerilla through the winter, so I may just have to switch to them for a while until I can decide on which species to try for the next project.

    #25879

    Darren
    Participant

    I’d love a shirt like that!

    #25870

    Terry
    Participant

    Hi Jane
    Still waiting!
    Should have a sunny day this week, but they need 2 – 3 in a row really to get pairings and then eggs, We have gone from freezing cold and overcast to above average temperatures but with cloud, wind and rain. I can’t really believe how long this generation of Yellow Admirals has lasted and it’s still 50/50 whether the Weather will change for the better before they all succumb.

    #25861

    Jane
    Participant

    Hi Terry,

    Did you get your long awaited sunny spells?

    I’ve just been looking at your photos in the above links. How interesting that the Admirals are attracted to your sweatshirt because of the ultraviolet! How do you then get out of the butterfly house without hangers-on?!?

    Sunny wishes – Jane

    #25845

    Terry
    Participant

    All stop again, as its rain until Saturday and then the possibility of sunny spells.

    #25826

    Terry
    Participant

    We had sunshine throughout the day today for the first time (I think) since early November. Although it was cold outside 5C, the temperature in the Butterfly House crept up to 24C by 12.30 and there were 2 pairings by 15.00hrs, My main problem now is how long until the next sunny day and how high can I get the temperature in the Butterfly House when and if we get some more sunshine. It appears from my research in to this species over the years that the females only remain fertile after pairing for a couple of weeks maximum and then need pairing again and my problem is that I am very low on Males, which are known to live shorter lives than the females. The sun is not very high in the sky at this time of the year in the UK and does not get the nettles in the trays on the shelves very warm, hence the females don?t lay. If this were Mid February I would have no problems at all and would be at maximum confidence that I would achieve another generation.
    So this is a partial success but only so far as the weather co-operates and if my stock can hang on a bit longer, after all they have been emerged now for over 2 months. ?So close yet so far? is the way I would sum it up!

    #25806

    Terry
    Participant

    Today started off sunny with a clear sky but the threat of rain by midday, I had a chance to feed the Yellow Admirals as I could not go to work due to illness, (long standing autoimmune problem) I decided to put both heaters on in the butterfly house to try and get the temperature up quickly before the clouds arrived and by 10.00 I managed to get it to 14C and by 11.00 briefly to 16C The clouds built up just before 11.00 and by Noon it was cloudy and the Yellow Admirals were roosting again but at least they had a chance to top up with nectar from the feeders. This is a critical time for them as they have lasted longer this winter than any previous stock and I have no back up due to the viral/bacterial disease breakout last Autumn. For the first winter period since the project started I have no eggs larvae or pupae left. If they can hold on for another Month and we get some sunny days at the end of January beginning of February there is still a small chance of pairings and eggs.
    I must declare that over last 13 years I have found this species to be so fascinating, I have learned so much about them and there behaviour, It will be a sad day if they die out before I can get another generation but I count myself very privileged to have been able to study them over the years. I cannot think of any other species including our own Red Admiral (Vanessa Atalanta) and the New Zealand Red Admiral (Vanessa Gonerilla) that I could possibly have become so obsessed with. The Yellow Admirals have certain behaviours that I find fascinating, one being the way they will all move to a sunny position in the mornings and orientate themselves head down and at a certain angle to the sun to warm up and when the temperature is found to be satisfactory or the sun is hidden behind cloud they will all fly down to the feeders en-mass and as soon as the sun reappears all ascend back to the position they held before. I even noticed a change in preference to the colours of the feeders, in the summer they prefer blue, in the winter orange, other colours get a mixed reception. I have no answer to this behaviour but find it all very amusing and fascinating. The worst thing I can do at anytime of the year is to enter the Butterfly house wearing my favourite old grey sweatshirt, I made this mistake today, I can only guess that this particular grey gives of ultra violet, because as soon as I enter the Butterfly house and turn to face the sun the Butterflies all swarm down and sun themselves on it making it very difficult for me to get out of the Butterfly house thereafter, unless I take it off to shake them loose. I assume that the combination of ultra violet and body heat attracts them as it helps them to gain temperature quickly.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/trsmithers/MoreVanessamansPhotos#5478111271577372770

    http://picasaweb.google.com/trsmithers/MoreVanessamansPhotos#5478103979366175794

    Anyway I can only pray that within the next month we get some late winter sunshine and above average temperatures on the sunniest days and then, just maybe, the project will be able to continue for while longer.

    #25786

    Jane
    Participant

    Great to hear that the days are lengthening for your project Terry 🙂

    #25778

    Terry
    Participant

    Well, the Sun was only partial but with the help of the heaters I managed to get the Butterfly house temperature up to 24C for an hour or so and the Butterflies had a chance to refuel with nectar. No pairings today because of the short duration of the sunshine but at least the days are getting longer now, just got to hope they can hang on in there a little longer. Light Snow forecast for tomorrow and cloudy the rest of the week.

    #25751

    Terry
    Participant

    Weather still mild but cloudy, but forecast for sun on Sunday, so fingers crossed it will still be warm enough to get the butterfly house up to a decent temperature. However our forecasters get the weather wrong 9 times out of 10, it’s the technology that does them in. When I was young asking the local farmer would get you a more accurate forecast, they used to tell you from the behaviour of the farm animals what the weather would be. sounds silly I know, but it used to be quite accurate.

    #25737

    Terry
    Participant

    Conditions for people and farm livestock have improved as of this morning, with a slight thaw setting in. The temperature is now +2.5c outside and will get a bit warmer over the next few days however it is dull and cloudy so for the Yellow Admirals it’s next to useless as I need sunshine to get heat in to the Butterfly house in order for them to fly, feed and lay eggs. At least now the days are getting longer, so even if we get a normal winters cold day but with sunshine all day that would be better than mild overcast weather. It’s all about the exceptional cold we have had this winter and the lack of Sunshine in the South East of England.

    #25733

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    On OUR news last night it said that conditions for you were forecast to improve! I hope that “Our” version is right! Scenes of livestock standing surrounded by snow. A really white Christmas.

    #25732

    Terry
    Participant

    I had great plans for today, we were forecast sunshine all day and what we got was haze in the morning and cloud in the afternoon, I was hoping that the paired females would lay just a few eggs for me so I could get a few larvae to continue the stock but alas none. The weather is now for cloud and cool weather for the next 5 days.

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