Forest Ringlet and Honshu White Admiral

This topic contains 14 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Terry 2 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #55028

    Terry
    Moderator

    Out of interest! Any up to date news on how these two species are faring in New Zealand. I heard the Honshu White Admiral had established and was being spread sometimes with help from humans to other areas but I don’t hear much about the Forest Ringlet and how it is coping these days?

Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #56153

    Terry
    Moderator

    Superb work Zac,

    Keep it up! Even with a species as easy to breed in captivity as Yellow Admiral’s I find I never stop discovering new things about them. You will find the same no doubt with the species you breed. The fact you have chosen the Forest Ringlet could make you one of the most knowledgeable people in the world if you can just focus on them and not get distracted. The trouble with butterflies and humans is that butterflies are so variable and brightly coloured (in most cases) people tend to want to do to many species at once and therefore getting conditions just perfect for whichever species is the one you wish to learn about is more difficult to achieve. However if I lived in New Zealand I am pretty sure I would have gone for Forest Ringlet as well. They really are special and look so different from other species.

    #56152

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Here’s Zac’s videos (they’re great Zac, and beautiful butterflies too).

    #56100

    Zac
    Participant

    Hi terry,

    I’ve now uploaded a couple of videos on YouTube, just keyword: forest ringlet

    I know what you mean about reintroduction in the wake of parasites and wasps, unless that issue has pest control introducing back into the wild could be futile. However, I think to some degree releasing adults could have some effect because I know this species lays fewer eggs than most species of butterflies do. As a friend of mine shares the same view as I do that this species has never been a prolific species so the introduction and increased presence of wasps etc have made it decline to some degree. I have studied this species intimately for the past 10 years, but I still find I’m learning things with this species. I’ve managed to be able to document and witness every life stage in the last 2 years, have countless photos and footage. there’s only the winter diapause I’m yet to go into further detail, of which I have a few examples to work with. It’s not a species many know much about, but it intrigues me. I hope to be able to successfully get something established even if the breeding is confined to the butterfly enclosure, that being quite a huge one and being a sanctuary for other endemic species.

    Zac

    #56097

    Terry
    Moderator

    Hi Leslie, As in my comment below, this could have been my own fault although I still don’t know how I managed it! I wrote my piece, posted it and it appeared. Found a spelling mistake and opened it to edit. When I clicked post it disappeared, however later in the day I noticed a small message saying posted and hidden by terry at the top of the thread. I clicked on this and it said flagged as spam so I un-spammed it and back it appeared. Very weird indeed!

    #56095

    LeslieD
    Moderator

    Hi Terry I had a post disappear recently and it was followed by me not being able to post at all. Very strange. Jacqui eventually pointed out my email had changed from what’s on the profile, but the email had changed about a year previous with no such consequences … But all was restored to normality when my email in the profile was changed to reflect my new email … go figger 🙂

    #56093

    Terry
    Moderator

    Hi again Zac! Somehow I spammed my own post, or so it seems! I have now restored it so you can see my full reply.

    #56092

    Terry
    Moderator

    Hi Zac I posted a lengthy reply to your last post only for it to disappear from the thread 2 minutes later. Still says posted at my end but not showing on forum. Strange!
    Anyway second attempt this time brief! Can’t view your videos as I am not on facebook. Maybe you could post on youtube at some point?

    Would love to know where my original reply went!!!!

    #56086

    Terry
    Moderator

    Hi Zac, I am not a member of facebook so could not get to the videos but only to the thumbnail pics on the front page. However, that aside it’s good to hear how you are learning more about the Forest Ringlet and that you are trying to breed it in captivity. The problem with many in decline species is lack of knowledge and this is why it’s so hard to turn things around. Knee jerk reactions from well intentioned but naive conservationists normally end up placing such species under strict laws prohibiting captive breeding attempts which in turn leads to an even faster demise. If you can manage to find a way to breed large numbers in captivity and then find suitable habitat where maybe they once thrived there is a chance for reintroduction, however it must be noted that if that decline is caused not just by habitat destruction which would make a reintroduction pointless but by introduced predators such as the wasp problem, so often reported from New Zealand, then control methods for these must be in place before reintroduction. It’s always difficult and almost impossible to do without cooperation from local authorities who mostly only play at conservation as a cheap way to make out they have “green credentials”. I am sure you know how it is with politics the world over. I do wish you luck however and thanks for trying, if only more people did this we could turn things around before it is too late. As for the Honshu White Admirals, do you have suitable habitat to introduce them to in your area? I know how Japanese Honeysuckle is a serious problem in parts of New Zealand and although I doubt that the Butterflies will do any serious damage to it’s spread they certainly make a beautiful addition to New Zealand’s Butterfly list. Maybe you could consider placing some of your Videos on Youtube where they will reach a wider audience. What other species of butterfly are in reach from where you live and where? I am very interested as I know how the New Zealand landscape is so variable form area to area. What about the two Admirals and the Copper species? Can you find them locally?
    I think New Zealand is the most scenic and beautiful country in the world and so it’s such a shame that it has so few species of butterfly. That aside, those few it has are all very interesting which makes up for that lack. My addiction to the Yellow Admiral I have captive bred for years comes from the fact they were so different in colour yet so similar in other ways and obviously from a common ancestor within the Red Admiral variations world over. Whether it be vanessa atalanta, vanessa indica, vanessa tameamea, vanessa gonerilla, vanessa itea, vanessa virginiensis, vanessa cardui or vanessa braziliensis ect this type covers most continents of the world and it’s amazing how the basic wing patterns are almost the same. It would be wonderful if we could time travel back to find out what the common ancestor looked like!

    #56075

    Zac
    Participant

    Hi Terry, thought you might like to swing by my Facebook page if you have one: Zac n Jana Warren

    I have been raising both the Honshu white admiral and the forest ringlet in my butterfly house, and I’ve uploaded a couple of photo albums with also some video footage.

    I recently had a search for forest ringlets (early February) out in the bush, but missed seeing the adults by about a couple of weeks, checking plants I found quite a few early stage larvae and found some eggs. They seem to still be around in my locality which is pleasing to see. Like mike said, there are those that will give their time to assist and me being one of them. Ive currently got them in the shadehouse and hoping to get some sort of breeding going for the following summer so will see how that goes. But I’m very passionate about this species and I’ve devoted allot of my time to it.

    Zac

    #55474

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    I get confused when we’re talking about “wasps”. There is the European wasp which is Vespula germanica, then there’s the European paper wasp which is Polistes dominula. Which one is doing the damage here, Mike?

    And what is meant by the “common wasp”?

    On another note – should be another topic here but I would like to make sure that you guys (Mike, Norm, Terry) are reading this… and perhaps others will contribute too. There is something very strange going on with monarchs this season – and possibly other insects too, so people say. See the survey HERE.

    From the discussion above about the forest ringlet, if someone gave us a large donation we could do research to eradicate or control the wasps that are affecting the forest ringlet. If it was the same wasp(s) that are affecting the monarch we could certainly do crowdfunding to raise funds for this cause as the monarch is such a crowd-pleaser. It would no doubt be good for both species… and more. Evidently Vespex is doing a good job of controlling Vespula spp – but nothing has so far been found to control Polistes spp of which there are now three in NZ.

    Thoughts?

    #55449

    Terry
    Moderator

    Hi Mike,

    That’s very interesting! No doubt control of the European Wasp will be difficult and possibly have little real effect on numbers. In the UK we find that both Vespula germanica and vespula vulgaris have good years and bad years so you will probably find yearly fluctuations as well in New Zealand. These wasps are killed on a massive scale over here by pest control but it makes little real impact overall. On naturally bad years for the wasps it may give the Forest Ringlets time to recoup and although they may appear absent they could be at much smaller densities. Both of these two wasps had a poor season last year in the UK. I would suggest that New Zealand appoint someone resident to head the conservation effort rather than flying in someone who can only cover this on a short term basis. I am sure New Zealand has very capable entomologists who could take this on. It’s always better when you know the country well, than as a newcomer. I suppose to get things moving you have to get widespread media coverage as with the Kakapo project. Once people get interested it’s easier to persuade government to fund research. This is a very special butterfly in very many ways so I wish you well in your efforts.

    #55444

    mike reid
    Participant

    Re Helms

    I revisited a colony of helms over the New Year period which in past years was thriving. Located at an altitude of 520 meters in native mixed beech forest I was dismayed to find that there was no longer any evidence of this butterfly. What I did find was an abundance of European wasps in the area. Something I had not witnessed in the previous 20 years. My concern is that with the common wasp still expanding its range (and remember it has been found in sub alpine areas) that similar what appear to be healthy thriving colony’s of this butterfly may be “picked off” one at a time.The fact that we have colony’s that appear to be thriving today should not mean that we let our guard down re the future of this very special Butterfly.
    Obviously more research is required. It should be started sooner rather than later.We do have a number of people in NZ who would gladly give up their time to assist with this and support a professional entomologist leading the research.And time to make this Butterfly an iconic species as Steve Wheatley suggested

    #55033

    Terry
    Moderator

    Thank you Norm, that was a very interesting report. I have friends in New Zealand who lived on Waiheke Island for a while about 10 years ago. As they were and are still not interested in butterflies it would have been pointless to ask them what was to be found on the island. The fact that Forest Ringlets are on Little Barrier Island is very good news as I know it is already a nature reserve and now Forest Ringlets have been discovered there it will be easier to include them in regular monitoring amongst the rare birds and other creatures on the island. I would be interested to hear of any sightings you make in your own forays and you can email me privately if you wish to keep this info low key to protect the areas from too much public attention. Personally I don’t think the Honshu White Admiral will have any major effect on controlling Japanese Honeysuckle, however, who in there right mind would complain about having such a beautiful butterfly as a new species in New Zealand?
    In the UK Cinnabar Moths are widespread but so is Ragwort so same result really!
    I heard the Large White was successfully eradicated before it could establish properly but that came as no surprise. In the UK 98% of larvae are destroyed by both the aforementioned parasites every year and it is far less common than the Small White.
    Last years Purple Emperor season over here was the best I can remember and at Chiddingfold Forest where I am a regular I even managed to get photo’s close up on my mobile phone, even touching the butterflies with the phone. The most comical day was when a lady was complaining that a Purple Emperor I had pointed out to her on the track had a blade of grass in front of it spoiling the shot. I asked her to step back, laid on the track, slowly moved my hand up to the grass stem and broke it off. I even just touched the butterflies wing to manage this. She could not believe her eyes but I explained that if you move slowly once a Purple Emperor is imbibing on the salts it becomes so preoccupied that you can get away with far more than you would normally. They will sometimes even land on you if you are sweating to get salts. Needless to say she went away happy having snapped many shots. I hope 2019 is a good Purple Emperor season as well.

    #55032

    NormTwigge
    Keymaster

    Hi Terry, the Honshu White Admiral has settled in to the Waikato area where it was first released, and although it does not appear to have spread out much, possibly owing to the vast amount of Japanese Honeysuckle in the area, it appears to have consolidated its stronghold. The species was released on Waiheke Island but failed to consolidate, and a second release was made. The Wellington area has been marked for a release, and others areas following.

    How successful they will prove to be as a control for the honeysuckle is yet to be established, when one looks back at the Cinnabar moth introduced into New Zealand in the early 1930’s as a biological control for ragwort, which is still prevalent here, or Pteromalus puparum and Apantales (now Cotesia) glomeratus wasps also introduced in the 1930’s to try and reduce the Cabbage White butterfly numbers. We still have large numbers of the white butterfly, but unfortunately both species of wasp have gone on to infect some of our endemic lepidoptera. However the authorities have said that biological controls may help rather than eradicate.

    The Forest Ringlet is still a subject of differing opinions, and while the Dept. of Conservation classifies the species as “serious decline”, in the past 18 months there have been numerous sightings in areas never before reported, Little Barrier Island being one. Volunteer workers on the Island had seen them over the previous few years without realising what they were, and only when someone recognised the species did it become news. As more and more people, and particularly trampers, become familiar with the appearance of the species, the more sightings are recorded. Steve Wheatley, the British conservationist who headed the recent update on research data of the Forest Ringlet, concluded in his Review document that there was insufficient statistical evidence to determine stability either way. My interest is still paramount, with Ruapehu forays being a learning experience, and now continuing in two areas with confirmed sightings within one and a half hours drive from my home.

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