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


Spring comes sooner to urban heat islands, with potential consequences for wildlife
With spring now fully sprung, a new study by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers shows that buds burst earlier in dense urban areas than in their suburban and rural surroundings. This may be music to urban gardeners' ears, but that tune could be alarming to some native and migratory birds and bugs.

Study of fungi-insect relationships may lead to new evolutionary discoveries
Zombie ants are only one of the fungi-insect relationships studied by a team of Penn State biologists in a newly compiled database of insect fungi interactions.

Evaluating animal threats and human intentions uses common brain network
Assessing whether a fluffy bunny or a giant spider poses a threat to our safety happens automatically.

Nanopillars on drone fly larvae allow them to avoid bacterial contamination
The immature stage of the drone fly (Eristalis tenax) is known as a "rat-tailed maggot" because it resembles a hairless baby rodent with a "tail" that is actually used as a breathing tube.

Eastern Monarch butterflies at risk of extinction unless numbers increase
Long-term declines in the overwintering Eastern population of North American monarch butterflies are significantly increasing their likelihood of becoming extinct over the next two decades, according to Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and U.S. Geological Survey research published today.

Single brain cells reveal genes controlling formation, development
In one of the first studies to 'read' the genetic activity inside individual brain cells, University of Wisconsin-Madison neuroscientist Xinyu Zhao has identified the genetic machinery that causes maturation in a young nerve cell.

Is Alaska's first new butterfly species in decades an ancient hybrid?
Some might say it takes a rare breed to survive the Alaska wilderness. The discovery of a possible new species of hybrid butterfly from the state's interior is proving that theory correct.

Smithsonian scientists discover butterfly-like fossil insect in the deep Mesozoic
Large butterfly-like insects known as Kalligrammatid lacewings, which fluttered through Eurasian fern- and cycad-filled woodland during the Mesozoic Era, have been extinct for more than 120 million years.

Small but deadly: The chemical warfare of sea slugs
Brightly coloured sea slugs are slurping deadly chemicals and stockpiling the most toxic compounds for use on their enemies.

New study reveals what's behind a tarantula's blue hue
Scientists recently discovered that tiny, multilayer nanostructures inside a tarantula's hair are responsible for its vibrant color. The science behind how these hair-raising spiders developed their blue hue may lead to new ways to improve computer or TV screens using biomimicry.
More Butterflies Current Events and Butterflies News Articles

The Butterfly Garden (The Collector Trilogy)

The Butterfly Garden (The Collector Trilogy)
by Dot Hutchison (Author)


Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to...

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 in Amber (Spotless)

Butterfly in Amber (Spotless)
by Camilla Monk (Author)


He's waiting for you... Under a blanket of snow, surrounded by dark woods and a frozen sea, lies an ogre's castle. There lives a little princess, trapped in the maze of her own mind. On a battlefield where the past meets the present stand a fairy godmother and a pirate, an old ice cream man and a knight in shining clean armor... The clock is ticking fast, and to pierce the ogre's secrets and defeat him, Island Chaptal will have to fight to remember...and stay alive. Can the Lions and the Roomba cats be stopped before it's too late?

The Butterfly

The Butterfly
by Patricia Polacco (Author)


Ever since the Nazis marched into Monique?s small French village, terrorizing it, nothing surprises her, until the night Monique encounters ?the little ghost? sitting at the end of her bed. She turns out to be a girl named Sevrine, who has been hiding from the Nazis in Monique?s basement. Playing after dark, the two become friends, until, in a terrifying moment, they are discovered, sending both of their families into a nighttime flight.

Explore My World Butterflies

Explore My World Butterflies
by Marfe Ferguson Delano (Author)


The engaging Explore My World picture books invite kids to take their first big steps toward understanding the world around them and are just the thing for parents and kids to curl up with and read aloud. In Explore My World Butterflies, curious kids ages 3 to 7 will be excited to learn about the magical world of butterflies: their beauty, their importance to plant life, and their incredible metamorphosis and migration.

A Butterfly Is Patient

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


From the creators of the award-winning An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, and A Rock Is Lively comes this gorgeous and informative introduction to the world of butterflies. An incredible variety of butterflies are celebrated here in all of their beauty and wonder, from the tiny Arian Small Blue to the grand Queen Alexandra's Birdwing. Perfect for a child's bedroom bookshelf or for the classroom!

The Butterfly Storm: (The Butterfly Storm Book 1)

The Butterfly Storm: (The Butterfly Storm Book 1)
by Lemon Tree Press


Four years ago life for Sophie Keech was perfect. A new start in Greece with Alekos, her boyfriend of just six weeks, removes Sophie from a mundane 9-5 job, takes her away from the difficult relationship she has with her mum, and gives her the opportunity and belief that she is finally doing something positive and exciting with her life. 

But a lot can change in four years. An engagement, a domineering mother-in-law to be and the reality of life in Greece not being quite what Sophie imagined, puts a strain on her relationship with Alekos. When her estranged mum is involved in an accident, it’s the perfect excuse to escape back to the UK to reassess her life and her idea of family.

Faced with a physical and emotional distance from Alekos, a complicated...

Luna, The Night Butterfly + 5 Bonus Stories! (Fun Rhyming Children's Books)

Luna, The Night Butterfly + 5 Bonus Stories! (Fun Rhyming Children's Books)


Updated!

Now with 5 Bonus Stories! 150 pages of fun and delight for your child.

+ 5 Bonus Stories
Gracie Gourd
Princess Tiffany: Tooth Fairy
Princess Maddie Mouse
The Little Duck and The Great Big Pond
A Small Pony Tale.



If your child enjoys stories from authors like Kate DiCamillo, Cynthia Rylant,
Mem Fox or Gary Paulson then your child will love this beautiful luna moth tale told by Lily Lexington in this children’s picture story book complete with a valuable lesson.

Luna feels different from her butterfly family. She wants to belong but deep down she know she is not the same as the other butterflies. Follow Luna in her journey to find out who she is in the cute story for kids both young and...

The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters

The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters
by Andy Andrews (Author)


The decisions you make and the way you treat others have more impact than you may ever realize. Speaker and New York Times best-selling author Andy Andrews shares a compelling and powerful story about a decision one man made over a hundred years ago, and the ripple effect it's had on us individually, and nationwide, today. It's a story that will inspire courage and wisdom in the decisions we make, as well as affect the way we treat others through our lifetime. Andrews speaks over 100 times a year, and The Butterfly Effect is his #1 most requested story.  Also included with the purchase of the book is a link to view a 9-minute message of Andrews telling The Butterfly Effect story to a live audience.


In the Time of the Butterflies

In the Time of the Butterflies
by Julia Alvarez (Author)


It is November 25, 1960, and three beautiful sisters have been found near their wrecked Jeep at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The official state newspaper reports their deaths as accidental. It does not mention that a fourth sister lives. Nor does it explain that the sisters were among the leading opponents of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s dictatorship. It doesn’t have to. Everybody knows of Las Mariposas―“The Butterflies.”

In this extraordinary novel, the voices of all four sisters―Minerva, Patria, María Teresa, and the survivor, Dedé―speak across the decades to tell their own stories, from hair ribbons and secret crushes to gunrunning and prison torture, and to describe the everyday horrors of life under...

© 2017 BrightSurf.com