Terry's Admiral Project in Britain update?

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  • #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 - 76 through 100 (of 985 total)
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  • #48996

    Terry
    Participant

    This batch of pupae has produced many butterflies and it could be over 200. I have other batches of larvae which are growing fast and a repeat of the experiment hinted at in the last post is underway. As we head toward winter over here in the UK this is the exact time I need good numbers of butterflies to increase my chances of reaching year 20 of the project.

    #48954

    Terry
    Participant

    Two weeks on and I have another batch of pupae from sterilised eggs including another treatment for the larvae which for the time being will not be disclosed. I need to repeat the experiment at least 3-5 times to make sure it was not a fluke. Anyway the last batch of pupae numbered 253 and only one has died so far. As the pupae have not been formed for very long there is a good chance many more could perish before butterflies are produced. It is a good time of year as far as the weather is concerned. The temperatures in the Butterfly House are much cooler and the flight period is extended and the Butterflies last much longer. However it won’t be long before the first frosts appear and then things become a bit more complicated again.

    #48860

    Terry
    Participant

    The next batch of pupae are now producing butterflies and the survival numbers are better this time. I had 75 pupae and at least 60 should produce. I have collected more eggs and sterilised them and now have another batch of small larvae. The project keeps going forward despite heavy losses due to wilt. With the autumn fast approaching I need to get a large generation to take me through to the cold months of winter.

    #48798

    Terry
    Participant

    The pupae only produced 32 Butterflies the rest died. It is still enough to keep the project going and I now have another batch pupating. The disease is very virulent at this time of year with heat and poor quality nettles. It will soon be the end of summer in the UK and then if we get some wet weather to get the nettles growing again things could get easier for a while as we move toward winter.

    #48767

    Terry
    Participant

    Out of the 100 pupae only approx 75 are viable the others have wilt and more could succumb. At least it represents another chance to keep the project going a while longer. On a side note, in the garden the Pellitory used in experiments with the Yellow Admirals has spread in parts and the local Red Admirals have laid eggs on them. I found some small tents containing small larvae. It’s a shame the Yellow Admiral larvae cannot adapt to them like our Red Admiral. However, if in the future the Yellow Admiral project ends I have a non stinging plant to breed Red Admiral (Vanessa Atalanta) on, which will save my fingers a lot of unnecessary pain.

    #48751

    Terry
    Participant

    With the third batch I managed to get a large number (about 100) through to pupation, however I may still lose some of these to the disease but at least the project is back and functioning once again. Decent nettles are in short supply this time of year and rain would be very welcome in order to produce fresh healthy nettles for the next generation.

    #48710

    Terry
    Participant

    The whole of the second batch died off and it’s all down to the third batch now. I still have a chance that the remaining 20 butterflies will produce eggs and larvae that will make it through, but this is a very precarious situation and the project will end if I am unsuccessful.

    #48687

    Terry
    Participant

    Only 17 Butterflies from the diseased pupae. The next batch of larvae are also dying off and it will be hard to get many, if any, through to Butterflies. One batch to go after that, so it’s a real struggle at the moment.

    #48567

    Terry
    Participant

    The latest batch of larvae has proved a disaster with thousands lost to wilt and only 29 pupae glued up. There is a high chance that these pupae could succumb as well. I have one more batch of small larvae to fall back on but in the Butterfly House the numbers of Imagines are falling quickly. This is not unusual for mid summer but it only takes about 3 complete batch failures and the project is in peril. If I can get through to late summer the temperatures are much lower then and the chances are better for a large batch to survive and that gives me plenty of Butterflies to take through to Autumn.

    #48459

    Terry
    Participant

    The 300 Pupae are now producing fresh Butterflies to top up the GH. The Small larvae are growing slowly as the weather is still very cool for the time of year with exceptional amounts of rain.

    In the Wild every species is a approx 2 to 3 weeks behind schedule. However I have seen many species this year including Green Hairstreak, Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Common Blue, Adonis Blue, Small Heath, Brown Argus, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Orange Tip, Holly Blue, Silver Studded Blue, Comma, Speckled Wood, Brimstone, Dark Green Fritillary, Purple Emperor, Red Admiral, White Admiral, Small White, Large White, Green Veined White, Silver Washed Fritillary Large Skipper and Painted Lady. I think that is the lot and the Purple Emperor, I saw the first one yesterday along with the first Silver Washed Fritillary of the Year. There are other species I hope to see but their flight time is not until later this month and next month so until then it’s keep looking and searching.

    #48427

    Terry
    Participant

    I have 300 pupae from this batch and the next one is well on the way with 1st instar larvae now in 2 large boxes ready to be reared through. The summer is very cool in the UK this season but it makes things easier for the project as I don’t have to worry about the Butterfly House getting too hot.

    #48387

    Terry
    Participant

    The majority of the Yellow Admiral pupae produced healthy butterflies which was welcome. I have more larvae producing pupae at this time so the project is running reasonably well at the moment. The wilt disease is still in the stock but the sterilisation of eggs is working well. It has so far been easier to control than last year but the late summer is normally the worst time so I will know at that time how much better at resisting the wilt the stock is.
    On a side note; I have an Alder Buckthorn bush in the garden which is one of the food-plants of the Brimstone Butterfly. Every year the local Brimstones lay eggs on it and every year the larvae get heavily predated upon by birds and wasps, so this year I collected up as many eggs as I could find and now have over 30 pupae. The Butterflies will be released back into the wild as soon as they have emerged.

    http://www.ukbutterflies.co.uk/species.php?species=rhamni

    #48342

    Terry
    Participant

    I managed to get 400 pupae in total and the first Butterfly emerged yesterday. I noticed some pupae are diseased but gluing up the second 200 today I also noticed how lively the pupae were, so that is a good sign that they are healthy. The weather is very changeable at the moment so I don’t have to worry about the Butterfly House becoming overheated. I have another large batch of larvae in second instar but I have the feeling that I shall have to be careful of disease outbreak unless I can split them up into smaller batches as they are all in one large container at this time.

    #48329

    Terry
    Participant

    I have glued up 200 pupae ready for emergence and have another 100 plus that will need to be glued up in a few days time when they have hardened off. The Lantana Camara plants in the butterfly house are in need of a serious pruning and I will have to bring fresh trays and tubs of nettles in as well. The nettles in tubs and trays inside will be put outside to regenerate. The wilt disease is still affecting the stock but so far the sterilisation of collected eggs is working well.

    #48290

    Terry
    Participant

    The next generation of Yellow Admiral larvae are just starting to pupate and so far things are looking quite good. Of course it is easy to become over confident but anyone who has had wilt disease in their stock knows it can strike in the final instar when you think all is well. The disease is still in the untreated stock within the butterfly house but the sterilisation of eggs helps to control it well for the indoor reared larvae.

    #48244

    Terry
    Participant

    At last a batch of pupae has produced butterflies. The last batch had a 50% death rate but this time that is down to about 10%. I already have another two batches of larvae ready to provide more butterflies for another generation. It is a pleasure to see fresh specimens flying and feeding on the lantana camara and on the feeder stations once again.

    #48187

    Terry
    Participant

    about 50% of the last batch of pupae died which was very surprising. It appears the wilt disease is hitting much later in the development than previously. It will be interesting to see how the next batch of pupae do. I have just glued up about 300 and so far I have noticed 3 have got the disease and turned black. I have another 2 batches of 1st instar larvae from sterilised eggs to boost the stock with so I can continue the project a while longer.

    #48068

    Terry
    Participant

    Warmer weather is on its way at last. Today is sunny and mild and my larvae from sterilised eggs are producing healthy pupae. The last batch produced healthy pupae but some became diseased and died before emergence. Not to worry too much, as over 50 made it through and those butterflies are enjoying the spring sunshine and laying fresh eggs in the Butterfly house. The wilt effected larvae have also produced a few resistant pupae and hopefully they will breed more resistance in to the stock over time.

    #47978

    Terry
    Participant

    The really weird weather is continuing with early morning frosts and cold days with northerly Arctic winds. We may as well skip spring and go straight in to summer at this rate. It was -1C this morning and this is the latest I have ever had to use the heater to protect the Butterflies and my Lantana camara bushes. The long term weather forecast for the next 10 days is still poor. The project is ticking over nicely now the days are longer, and the poor weather has one bonus and that is the nettles are staying young and fresh for longer as the temperature slows growth.

    #47895

    Terry
    Participant

    I have managed to get 125 pupae and glued them up for emergence. The first 3 butterflies emerged over the last 2 days so the next generation is now ready. I am still collecting larvae from the Butterfly House from unsterilised eggs and although a few are succumbing to wilt a significant number are making it through to pupation. It is early days yet and because the weather is still very cold for the time of year it will be interesting to see if the disease increases with the higher temperature as the weather improves.

    #47761

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Keep up the good work, Terry! We need more people like you.

    #47756

    Terry
    Participant

    I have had the first outbreak of wilt for 2016. The end of a sterilised batch of larvae has seen them start to collapse. On the positive side some larvae I collected full grown non sterilised in the Butterfly House are so far making it through to pupation. I hope these will have some extra resistance that can be bred back in to the stock. I have just glued up 50 pupae but the 25 from the last of the previous batch went black and died. I may get 100 in total from this lot, depending on the wilt.

    #47713

    Terry
    Participant

    The problem of infertile eggs from the last batch was possibly caused by low temperatures, because this latest batch is producing over 50% fertile. However there is the possibility that because there are multiple pairings as the weather gets warmer and the days longer, this could account for the increased fertility. Whatever the cause it is still amazing that after 19 years they still keep going. As the pupae produced in the last batch are large I would think there is little wrong with the stock considering the many years of inbreeding. The weather here is still poor for the time of year and the next 10 day forecast appear to be just as poor. It looks like we may skip spring and go straight in to summer if things don’t change soon.

    #47660

    Terry
    Participant

    The weather over here has been incredibly cool this spring. I have never known winter hang on for so long. On the couple of spring like days we have had all I have seen is a few Brimstone butterflies. Normally we would have had days warm enough back in March to bring out the first Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock from hibernation but we are now in April and nothing seen. There is no improvement forecast for at least 10 days and it is very frustrating waiting for a spring that never arrives. In good years the Orange Tip butterflies are just about to emerge but it looks like mid to late April this year if this continues.
    On the Yellow Admiral front I have some pupae forming at this time although in low numbers but at least the project is ticking over whilst the decent weather delays for a while longer.

    #47540

    Terry
    Participant

    There is definitely a drop off in fertility in the v itea stock. The last batch of eggs I sterilised were only approx 10% fertile. The resulting Butterflies are still apparently OK and are pairing as usual but I will have to monitor the situation as the warmer weather slowly arrives to see if it is a result of low temperature pairings or long term inbreeding problems.

Viewing 25 replies - 76 through 100 (of 985 total)

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