Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Study finds that mild winters are detrimental to butterflies

April 23, 2012
The recent mild winter throughout much of the United States was a cause for celebration for many. However, butterfly aficionados shouldn't be joining in the celebration.

A new study by Jessica Hellmann, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, and researchers from Western University found that mild winters, such as the one many of us just experienced, can be taxing for some butterfly or possibly other species.

Hellmann and her fellow researchers studied caterpillars of the Propertius Duskywing butterfly, which feed on Gary Oak trees. This species of caterpillar, like many insects, has a higher metabolic rate and burns more fat during mild winters.

"The energy reserves the caterpillars collect in the summer need to provide enough energy for both overwintering and metamorphosing into a butterfly in the spring," Caroline William, lead author of the study, said.

So a butterfly needs to conserve as much energy as it can during the winter months. In the paper, Hellmann and her colleagues explain for the first time how warmer winters can lead to a decrease in the number of butterflies.

However, Hellmann and the Western University researchers found that warmer winters might not always reduce butterfly populations as much as one might initially think. They reared caterpillars in two different locations: one which often experiences more variable and warmer winter temperatures and one which generally features more stable and generally cooler winter temperatures. The caterpillars that were exposed to the warmer and more variable conditions were better able to withstand the warmer conditions, simply by being exposed to them. They did so by lowering the sensitivity of their metabolism.

However, the ability of even caterpillars accustomed to warmer, more variable winters to cope with such conditions is still limited, according to the researchers. They calculated the energy use of both groups of caterpillars and discovered that the caterpillars that lower their metabolic rates to deal with warmer winters still use significantly more energy to survive them.

"We still have lot to learn about how organisms will respond to climate change," Hellmann said. "Our study shows significant biological effects of climate change, but it also shows that organisms can partially adjust their physiology to compensate. We now need to discover if other species adjust in similar ways to our example species."

So although mild winters may be a cause for celebration for many of us, those who are concerned are biodiversity might find them to be much more somber seasons.

###

The research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

University of Notre Dame


Related Butterflies Current Events and Butterflies News Articles


Invertebrate numbers nearly halve as human population doubles
Invertebrate numbers have decreased by 45% on average over a 35 year period in which the human population doubled, reports a study on the impact of humans on declining animal numbers.

Stanford biologist warns of early stages of Earth's 6th mass extinction event
The planet's current biodiversity, the product of 3.5 billion years of evolutionary trial and error, is the highest in the history of life. But it may be reaching a tipping point.

UMMS scientists show that monarch butterflies employ a magnetic compass during migration
Each fall millions of monarch butterflies use a sophisticated navigation system to transverse 2,000 miles from breeding sites across the eastern United States to an overwintering habitat in specific groves of fir trees in central Mexico.

Scientists unravel the genetic secrets of nature's master of mimicry
Scientists investigating how one of the greatest shape shifters in the natural world is able to trick predators to avoid being eaten have identified the gene behind the fascinating feat.

Scientists discover link between optimal wing design and migration success in monarch butterflies
Each fall, millions of monarch butterflies make a spectacular journey from the eastern parts of North America to reach their overwintering grounds in Mexico. Researchers have long known that not all butterflies successfully reach their destination.

Graphene's multi-colored butterflies
Writing in Nature Physics, a large international team led by Dr Artem Mishchenko and Sir Andre Geim from The University of Manchester shows that the electronic properties of graphene change dramatically if graphene is placed on top of boron nitride, also known as 'white graphite'.

Butterfly 'eyespots' add detail to the story of evolution
A new study of the colorful "eyespots" on the wings of some butterfly species is helping to address fundamental questions about evolution that are conceptually similar to the quandary Aristotle wrestled with about 330 B.C. - "which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

Some Ohio butterflies threatened by rising temperatures
The combined heat from climate change and urbanization is likely to reduce the number of eastern swallowtails and other native butterflies in Ohio and promote the spread of invasive relatives, a new study led by a Case Western Reserve University researcher shows.

Crocodile tears please thirsty butterflies and bees
The butterfly (Dryas iulia) and the bee (Centris sp.) were most likely seeking scarce minerals and an extra boost of protein.

Moth study suggests hidden climate change impacts
A 32-year study of subarctic forest moths in Finnish Lapland suggests that scientists may be underestimating the impacts of climate change on animals and plants because much of the harm is hidden from view.
More Butterflies Current Events and Butterflies News Articles

Butterflies of North America (Kaufman Field Guides)

Butterflies of North America (Kaufman Field Guides)
by Jim P. Brock (Author), Kenn Kaufman (Author), Kenn Kaufman (Editor)


The most user-friendly butterfly guide ever published, still handy and compact, now updated with the very latest information

- Follows the latest classification, recognizing more than forty additional species

- Includes four new color plates of Mexican-border rarities

- More than 2,300 images of butterflies in natural poses

- Pictorial table of contents

- Convenient one-page index

- Range maps on text pages

Butterflies

Butterflies
by Seymour Simon (Author)


Butterflies are beautiful, inspiring, amazing insects. Did you know that butterflies . . .have eyes that can look in all directions—up, down, forward, backward, left, and right—all at the same time?taste with their feet?can migrate 3,000 miles every year?Award-winning science writer Seymour Simon invites readers to explore the world of butterflies and moths with fascinating facts and stunning full-color photographs.Learn where to find butterflies and moths, how to observe them in nature, and how to plant your very own butterfly garden!

From Caterpillar to Butterfly  (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 1)

From Caterpillar to Butterfly (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 1)
by Deborah Heiligman (Author), Bari Weissman (Illustrator)


A caterpillar comes to school in a jar and the class watches the caterpillar each day as it grows and changes. Soon, it disappears into a hard shell called a chrysalis. Where did it go? This is a perfect beginner's guide to the mystery of metamorphosis. Named as a NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children, this book explains the life cycle from caterpillar to butterfly with easy-to-follow prose from Deborah Heiligman and warm, colorful illustrations from Bari Weissman. This is a Stage 1 Let's-Read-and-Find-Out, which means the book explains simple science concepts for preschoolers and kindergarteners. Let's-Read-And-Find-Out is the winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science/Subaru Science Books & Films Prize for Outstanding Science Series. Supports the...

A World Of Butterflies

A World Of Butterflies
by Kjell Sandved (Author), Brian Cassie (Author), Robert Michael Pyle (Contributor)


Butterfly enthusiasts will delight in the 200 vivid images from across the globe, accompanied by informative and engaging text from preeminent writers in the field.

The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies

The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies
by Robert Michael Pyle (Author)


Butterflies are among the natural world's most colorful and intriguing creatures, so what could be more useful than a handy field guide with more than 1,000 photographs of all the butterflies of North America north of Mexico, including all true butterflies, the most common skippers, and many migrants and strays. The color plates are visually arranged by shape and color, and thumb-tab silhouettes provide a convenient index to identification of butterflies in the field. The species account for each butterfly provides measurements, descriptions of each stage of the life cycle, and information on coloring or distinguishing markings, flight period, habitat, and range.

My, Oh My--A Butterfly!: All About Butterflies (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)

My, Oh My--A Butterfly!: All About Butterflies (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)
by Tish Rabe (Author), Aristides Ruiz (Illustrator), Joe Mathieu (Illustrator)


With a little help from the Cat in the Hat, Sally and Dick observe a small miracle in their own backyard—the metamorphosis of an egg into a caterpillar into a chrysalis into a bright new butterfly! Along the way, beginning readers will find out how butterflies see thousands of images at once, drink nectar from flowers, avoid predators, and can be identified by size, shape, and color. Readers will also follow the amazing migration of millions of monarchs.

A Butterfly Is Patient

A Butterfly Is Patient
by Dianna Hutts Aston (Author), Sylvia Long (Illustrator)


The creators of the award-winning An Egg Is Quiet and A Seed Is Sleepy have teamed up again to create this gorgeous and informative introduction to the world of butterflies. From iridescent blue swallowtails and brilliant orange monarchs to the worlds tiniest butterfly (Western Pygmy Blue) and the largest (Queen Alexandra's Birdwing), an incredible variety of butterflies are celebrated here in all of their beauty and wonder. Perfect for a child's bedroom bookshelf or for a classroom reading circle!

Butterfly

Butterfly
by Thomas Marent (Author), Ben Morgan (Author), Thomas Marent (Photographer)


Featuring more than 500 photographs taken on location around the globe of living insects in their natural habitats with personal stories from the photographer, Butterfly captures 16 year's worth of travel over five continents for an up-close view of the astonishing variety and behavior of the world's butterflies and moths. Now in paperback!

National Geographic Readers: Caterpillar to Butterfly

National Geographic Readers: Caterpillar to Butterfly
by Laura Marsh (Author)


Butterflies are all around us. It's hard to believe these majestic insects with impressive wingspans and beautifully colored and patterned wings were once creepy crawly caterpillars. How in the world does this transformation happen? This Level 1 Reader gives kids an up-close look at exactly how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. With bonus information including different types of butterflies and poisonous caterpillars, this reader is one of a kind.

This high-interest, educationally vetted series of beginning readers features the magnificent images of National Geographic, accompanied by texts written by experienced, skilled children's book authors.

The inside back cover of the paperback edition is an interactive feature based upon the book. Level 1 books reinforce the content...

Butterfly Notebook

Butterfly Notebook
by Sovak (Author)


Beautiful butterflies grace the covers of this handy 64-page blank notebook, perfect for holding addresses, phone and fax numbers, or just personal thoughts.

© 2014 BrightSurf.com