From Atlas into Action – personal contact worksThe project ‘From Atlas into Action’ aims to bring information on the biology and management of a number of endangered butterfly species from the national butterfly atlas (2006) directly to those carrying out nature management. The exchange of ideas between managers and the butterfly specialists from Dutch Butterfly Conservation takes place in the field and solutions to problems are sought on the spot. Mostly various parties are represented, which leads to lively discussions and concrete measures being agreed upon; in the future, more than just insects and the vegetation will be taken into account.
As a result of the personal contact that is central to this project, council workers responsible for maintaining the parks and green spaces are now ensuring that local populations of Thecla betulae survive. Their support was won after attending a presentation on the species, and then finding practical solutions for its conservation, in the field together with staff of DBC. Moreover, as the council was given a digital version of the information brochure, it has been able to produce a local version, gaining the interest and understanding of the general public.
The mystery of Dotted ChestnutThe ecology of Dotted Chestnut (Conistra rubiginea) is still poorly understood. It is a locally common species in the Netherlands and we record it regularly at our local site. However, at first we were unable to stimulate females caught in spring to lay eggs in captivity for captive breeding. The literature suggests the species has an ecological association with ants, especially Lasius fuliginosus, although the relationship is not further described. After some trial and error, we found that freshly caught females of the Dotted Chestnut only deposited eggs on pieces of wood taken from the nests of the ant species mentioned. This behavior could be reproduced the following year. Rearing the larvae to adulthood was without problems because they accepted many different foodplants and grew up easily without the presence of ants. During their development, however, larvae accepted dead ants and pupae taken from an ant nest. From this experimental breeding of Dotted Chestnut, we hypothesize that females of this species need the stimulus of an ant nest to deposit their eggs. In the spring of 2009 empty pupal cases of Dotted Chestnut were found in a nest of Lasius fuliginosus. The exact ecological relation is still unclear. Next year, therefore, our research will focus on nests of these ants.
National events for counting butterflies and mothsButterfly and moth protection begins with knowledge of their distribution. Dutch Butterfly Conservation acquires this by running a monitoring scheme, and collecting butterfly and moth records. However, there are other ways of counting: in August, we had three big counting events in the Netherlands involving the general public. The first was the Garden Butterfly Count. This count has been held in Belgium since 2007, and we joined forces to organise our first one. 1300 people took part! The Butterfly Relay took place along het Pieterpad, a long-distance path running 480 kilometres from Maastricht in the south of the Netherlands to Groningen in the north. The path was divided into 92 segments. Those wishing to participate could choose which segment to count via a website designed for the event; all segments were counted. Nearly twice as many butterflies were counted as last year as the weather was much better. The National Moth Night was a success, in spite of poor weather. Moths attracted by syrup or light were counted in nearly a hundred locations. The idea behind these national counts is that people see how enjoyable it is to count and that they continue sending in their observations via the national website telmee.nl.
Laatste wijziging: 9 november 2009
Exchange of ideas in the field.
The National Moth Night.