Summer in the UK

This topic contains 19 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Terry 10 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #13205

    Terry
    Moderator

    Hi all

    Here in the UK our spring is almost over and summer proper about to begin. My Yellow Admiral stock is doing well in its 11th year with still no noticable bad effects from inbreeding. However some stock of New Zealand Red Admirals from Ova given to me have left me confused. The Imagines paired very easily and continue to pair day after day but the Females for some reason lay only a few ova, and I am unsure if they are fertile at this time. It seems there are some big differences between Itea and Gonerilla and there habits.

    I hope that the NZ Autumn/Winter is not making all of you Butterfly Fanatics to bored and that spring will arrive quickly for you and cheer you up, only 3 or 4 months to go so, "Hang on in there"

Viewing 19 replies - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
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  • #18445

    Terry
    Moderator

    I live in the Surrey area Philip, and I can guarantee it was not one of mine as the Butterfly house is very secure, but I know some lepidopterists in Kent who have been breeding this species and they could have escaped from them, they live in and around the coastal area. I am very careful not to allow escapes, although itea will not survive our winters outside and they are attacked by the same parasitic wasps and flys that attack Atalanta and Cardui, I even bred a tachnid from the larvae of itea, the same ones that attack Small torts and Peacocks. so they could never become a pest species even if they managed to survive.

    #18444

    Philip
    Member

    Terry,
    Where do you live? I caught a V. itea on the Buddleia in my garden in North Kent, UK yesterday (2nd August). I presume it was an escapee from captive rearing.

    #18355

    Hi All, have 4 Admiral butterflies and many to still hatch.

    There is so much we dont know about our Admirals! and the information is very scarce for those who want to know more.

    http://www.google.co.nz/group/nzadmiral I have put together from info I have gathered myself and from others. If you have other info, please share. The more info we can gather the better for our Admirals.

    I feel we need some research into parasitic pests, wasps and other theats to our admirals.
    Angie

    Angie

    #18337

    NormTwigge
    Keymaster

    Hi Vicky,

    I am not sure on how many frosts the larvae could handle, or what extremes. Several years ago in Palmerston North I left some small Yellow admiral larvae on nettles in my vege garden that endured frosts of -2 & -3 degrees for a couple of weeks, until I took pity on them and relocated them into the butterfly house. Rest assured though they are hardy critters,as the nettle leaves didn’t thaw out until 11 a.m., after which they could be seen feeding again, so I imagine they could survive through the winter. Perhaps that is not too surprising when the N.Z. alpine scree weta (Deinacrida connectens) can actually freeze solid and yet survive without any ill effects.
    Now there’s one for the doubters Terry.
    Keen to hear how your campaign to the Council eventuates Vicky.
    Norm.

    #18335

    Terry
    Moderator

    Hi all
    Thank you for all the replies to my posting on this thread I never thought it would get such a huge response, but apart from that you have all provided me with more confirmation that Yellow and Red Admiral larvae are much tougher than the earlier research has suggested and can survive even a covering of snow and frosts. Every year in the UK Entomological groups have the same debate as to whether the European Red Admiral, Vanessa Atalanta can survive our winter and in which stage, and no matter how many times I tell them about Larvae I have found in the winter in very cold weather they still hold the same debate every year. It would be impossible for me to have mistaken them for captive stock as I have not bred any V Atalanta over the winter for years and yet every year I end up with Larvae of the above mixed in with my winter Vanessa Itea Yellow Admiral Larvae.The only way this can happen is because I collect nettles through the winter in the field opposite my Butterfly house to feed my Itea Larvae with. The resulting Atalanta Imagines are released in to the wild in the Spring and I then just stick to the Iteas. the only other species I breed “occasionally” with the Iteas are Vanessa Gonerilla, New Zealand Red Admirals.
    So thanks for all this information it is very important to report any new discoveries as much of the old literature is just plain wrong. keep up the good work!

    #18332

    VickySteele
    Participant

    Hi Norm,, thanks for the tips. Mine are inside, but I’m doing my best to keep the temperatures a bit more wintry. Of course they aren’t experiencing frosts like they would outside, but their development is considerably slower than ones I’ve had earlier. I’ve also noted different behaviour in the butterflies I’ve been getting lately .. I hope this means they’ve emerged in diapause.

    I worked out the overwintering thing when I was finding only little caterpillars in my former favourite spot in the country. I’ve left those one to their own devices, but will keep an eye on them. The ones I got last weekend were beside a busy road. The council sprays along there about the 2nd month of every season, so the nettles are due for another dose. I dug up as many as I could … I’d prefer to give them a shot with me rather than leave them to face this. I AM planning a campaign with the CCC too. I found dead J’s and pupae in the same spot, so the bigger caterpillars are having problems. And I have kept the chrysalis I brought home in a separate spot! How many frosts do you think they can handle, by the way? We’ve had a couple of heavy frosts and the hail on Tuesday didn’t help. The dead ones were on a corrugated iron fence, which must have been absolutely freezing.

    Vicky

    #18329

    NormTwigge
    Keymaster

    Hi Terry,

    Our Red admiral (Bassaris gonerilla) normally only deposits ova singly, rather than in clusters of 2 or 3 as does the Yellow (B.itea). It appears to deposit 1 or 2 ova and then rest, and is never in haste at ovipositing, unlike the itea which can deposit dozens in a short time. My last Red I recorded as depositing only 1 egg per day some days and up to 5 or 6 other days. These all turned out to be infertile, so I hope yours are O.K.
    A thought to others who are finding admiral caterpillars and rearing them inside. If left outside their metabolism slows and they spend the colder months overwintering at a slow pace until pupating nearer Spring. Bringing them inside into warmer conditions will shorten the larval and pupal stages, thus maturing and adult butterfly which may not be in a diapause mode and therefore not overwinter or survive in the harsh conditions of winter if released. If however the adults are kept in a suitable enclosure they can be paired and continue the cycle. Also I would keep any pupae brought inside seperate from final instar larvae in case they had been parasited.
    Norm.

    #18328

    Swansong
    Participant

    Sure Jacqui I’ll email you

    Swansong

    #18326

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Hi Swansong

    Sad to hear about the nettles being sprayed. Is it something you feel you could talk to Council about? Explain that our Admiral butterflies are getting less and less and one of the reasons is that the host plant is becoming less common? Or, if you’d rather, you could send me the name of the local council, their contact details and email address and we can send them a letter from us.

    Let’s hope they’ll change their attitude!

    Jacqui

    #18324

    Swansong
    Participant

    Vicky you are a hard case : ) and if I get started on admiral ‘pillars I’ll know who to blame! I saw a red admiral on Jacqui’s video and he was absolutely GORGEOUS, so I wont totally take it out on you : ) !

    I’m now able to “finger pat” my LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAST pillar who is 1 inch long.

    Oh I looked at those nettles along the road that I mentioned I suspected the council had sprayed…well theyre as dead as a doornail. So that ideas gone belly up. Should be easy enough to find some around here though. When I get time, I’ll go for an excursion to the nearby river down the road.

    #18322

    VickySteele
    Participant

    Haha! I believe I have a caterpillar addiction. And now I have another 70 that I found today. Stinging nettles on the side of the road .. covered in wee caterpillars. I get a lot of strange looks, digging up nettles. People must think I’m mad, or drink a lot of nettle tea.

    #18315

    Swansong
    Participant

    “6 caterpillars about 11 times now!”

    : ))))))) sounds familiar somehow.

    #18312

    VickySteele
    Participant

    Yep, Admirals in the snow. They’re quite a way inland, so get a lot of frosts out there too. In fact, apparently it froze the next night before the snow had melted so there were in ice! Tough wee guys. I’ve been down to my last 6 caterpillars about 11 times now!

    #18307

    Swansong
    Participant

    Heh well looks like I spoke too soon ( yet again ) ….. we had quite a stiff frost yesterday a.m.. and to boot it clouded over, so we’ll make that a semi black frost. : |

    “You can talk Gill! I think you were the one who got me on the patting thing : )”

    ah ha, : D D D so it looks like I’m not the only one afterall eh??? ; ) …Mmmm I thought not. Well I might as well also tell you its reallllly nice to put them up to your face. Let me tell you how coz you’ve got to do it just so : ) although it really is a matter of common sense …. make sure they are stretchedd out on a well eaten twig, (so you dont get a leaf in your eye …or something…) and simply bend it up to your cheek … and yep theyre lovely and soft!

    Now…

    I would NOT be surprised at all if you guys do this too… come on now tell me, …if not, I bet the thought has at least crossed your mind. : ).

    Wow! Admiral pillars in the snow???? That IS amazing Vicky…. and yeah I agree… go Mandy! I’m going to have to do some digging to find out how old Buds is as I cant remember, and yes I know a girl needs to take notes. Hopefully next season I’ll be more organized and studious.

    Cheers
    Swansong

    #18306

    Gilly
    Participant

    Not me Vicky!!!!! Nooooo :D:D:D 19 weeks aint too bad!!!!!! Go Mandy!

    #18305

    VickySteele
    Participant

    You can talk Gill! I think you were the one who got me on the patting thing 🙂

    The weather has been great in Christchurch, but a few frosts this week. The most amazing thing for me is that every weekend I go into the country to dig some nettles for my Yellow Admirals, and every single time I come home with about 17 new caterpillars. There was a nasty southerly blast nearly 2 weeks ago and my nettle patch was under snow … just as well I didn’t bet against there being no caterpillars left. I found heaps!

    Swansong .. you still have Buddy#3? Yippeeee! I still have Mandy – my wobbly, shagaholic Monarch who is 19 weeks old tomorrow (20 June).

    #18291

    Gilly
    Participant

    Yes, a very mild winter so far up here in Northland too. But we’ve had some wild winds and rain the last few days and I’ve been rescuing monarchs from downtown and bringing them home and keeping them out of the weather… hopefully might be able to release a few this afternoon when it is supposed to improve.
    ‘finger patted’ Swansong? They might be coming to take you away soon! hehehehe 😉

    #18290

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi Terry

    “I hope that the NZ Autumn/Winter is not making all of you Butterfly Fanatics to bored and that spring will arrive quickly for you and cheer you up, only 3 or 4 months to go so, “Hang on in there” “

    Heh heh no chance of getting bored, as I still have a lovely big faaat pillar and a wee one. The big one gets “finger patted” everyday : ) and the other ones turn is coming : ). Too risky at present as he’s too small and we wouldn’t want to cause any damage eh ? Its quite neat as they take a looong time to progress so I get to enjoy them for longer. Buddy #3 is sitting on my shoulder as I type right now. I have 7 other butterflys waiting for me to release them.

    They say the worst weather comes after the shortest day which is all but on us. Things have been very mild of late in my area which is not usual for this time of the year.

    Cheers
    Swansong

    #18285

    Jacqui
    Keymaster

    Hi Terry

    Nice to hear from you! I’m frantically busy, in the Waikato at present. Back home weekend after next and I hope to start work on my garden.

    DO YOU REALISE that the shortest day for us is only two days away (or maybe three, depends which calendar you look at!) Hoorah!!! Spring WILL be on its way then. A beautiful day but cold here in Hamilton today.

    Intersting your comments about Admirals.

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