Ilex verticilata, winterberry. 19 September 2014.
Here in the Mid-Atlantic of the United States, the annual Monarch butterfly migration hits its peak this weekend. Monarchs belong to the order of insects known as lepideptera in the family nymphalidae. Although these butterflies (also known as milkweed butterflies) are fairly widespread, living all over North, Central and parts of South America, as well as Australia and New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and several Atlantic islands, they don’t typically live in Europe. Monarchs are perhaps the most famous of all the thousands of varieties of American butterflies, but did not get their name until 1874. The word monarch came to English in the 14th century from The French monarque. It is possible that it came directly from Late Latin monarcha which ultimately came from the Ancient Greek word monarkhes meaning one who rules alone. The name Monarch was first used by Samuel H. Scudder in 1874 because as he said, “it is one of the largest of our butterflies, and rules a vast domain.” Some, however, suggest the name may have been given in honour of King William III of England. Step outside and see if you can spot a monarch as they make their way south-some monarchs will fly over a thousand miles.
Image of a Monarch courtesy of David Levinson Photography, used with permission under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). Visit his cool page by clicking on his name.
As Moscow’s Landfills Near Limits, Recyclers Do Whatever It Takes
“In the absence of a broad municipal effort, die-hard recyclers have to rely on a hodgepodge of private, for-profit companies that are not always willing to accept small batches of recyclables, usually take only one kind of material, and are both far away and hard to find.
“The system is not user-friendly,” said Mr. Tsygankov. “You have to be really, really aware and sensitive to this issue to care.”
Tatiana Kargina, who began recycling paper when she moved to Moscow from Irkutsk five years ago for a job in education, falls into this category. Four years ago, when she discovered a brand-new, environmentally minded collection point that took not just paper or glass, but a range of recyclables, she started collecting all kinds of household waste — even batteries, which were not recyclable in Russia at the time. (When friends flew to Europe, they took the batteries with them.)
Every two months, she gladly made the 40-minute trip from her apartment to the recycling center. “The taxis were shocked when I put all this sorted garbage in the car,” she said. “They thought I was crazy.”
Ok Sarah, now this, this is awesome! I’ve seen adult Pandorus moths in the Garden a couple of times. In fact, we have deceased specimens in the education office and the Welcome Center. So freaking cool.
Hello, I am the Pandora Sphinx Moth (Eumorpha pandorus) larva and I was found in the garden eating Virginia Creeper today. September 19, 2014. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
We have read a lot about the demise of the bee colonies but recently the world’s oldest beehive has been found. Located in the medieval Scottish Rosslyn Chapel, which dates back to 1446, two ancient hives have been found,
Yesterday, I was stuck in rush hour traffic on I-76 with my roommate. He was driving, so I was looking out the window (my favorite passenger activity). We were at a complete standstill so it was easy to really see the plants along the side of the highway. Absentmindedly, I commented about how pretty the goldenrod was with the boneset.
“I think it is so great that you can look at weeds and like them exactly how they are” he responded. I thought it was an odd comment, but after a moment I realized it wasn’t. Most people don’t consider weeds beautiful. Maybe I am the weird one…(read more at ecobota.com)
An except from my blog. The entire floral arrangement on top was created from flowers found along the railroad tracks below. WEEDS ARE WONDERFUL and we should love them.
Our friend in West Virgina has quite the backyard for bees.
Science, and particularly taxonomy, presents many challenges for scientists, especially in naming. Entomology, and particularly lepidepterology, presents even more challenges. Consider the butterfly genus polygonia illustrated above: look carefully at the wing undersides for a small white mark. The top row is the Polygonia interrogationis, commonly known as the Question Mark Butterfly, distinguished by the small white mark (can you see the period under the swoosh?) in the shape of a question mark. Now look carefully at the bottom row, where a very similar white mark gives the Polygonia comma (commonly known as the Comma Butterfly) its name. To a casual observer these marks are barely noticeable and almost indistinguishable one from the other. For Johan Christian Fabricius, the great Danish entomologist, the differences were both clear and compelling. A student of the father of taxonomy Carl Linneaus, Fabricius was at the very forefront of taxonomy at an incredibly important time. He was also absurdly prolific and dedicated: while Carl Linneaus is considered the founder of taxonomy he only named some 3,000 species. Fabricius on the other hand named over 10,000 in his forty year career. Hence the very small but suddenly very important difference in those two little white squiggles!
Classically educated scientists and naturalists of the time were well educated in both Latin and Ancient Greek and were often fluent in multiple languages. Naming conventions often took small, concrete and descriptive details into account and formulated names to describe the species from the ancient languages. Here, polygonia comes from the Ancient Greek words πολυς polus meaning many and γονια gonia meaning angle, a description of the angular wings typical of the genus. The Latin word interrogationis is almost identical to its English equivalent interrogation with almost the same meaning, to question. And the word comma is an English transliteration of the Ancient Greek word κομμα komma, meaning a break or pause.
Top Left: The Question Mark butterfly, image of top of wings by Derek Ramsay.
Top right: Question Mark butterfly, image of wing underside by John B.
Bottom Left: Comma wing tops, image by D. Gordon E. Robertson, PhD, Fellow of Canadian Society for Biomechanics, Emeritus Professor, School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
Bottom Right: Comma underside image by Kaldari.
All images used under a Creative Commons 3.0 license, with much gratitude.
SOMERSET, Colo. — The sale of billions of tons of publicly owned coal highlights one of the greatest conundrums of the Obama’s environmental policy. While the Obama administration has ordered a 30 percent reduction of global warming gases, it is leasing land for mining of coal, which can be exported and burned elsewhere. It is the story of “contradictory energy policies undermining the larger goal of having a reduction of greenhouse gases in America,” said Senator Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who normally is a staunch ally of the administration, but in this case one of its severest critics.Obama may be the coal industry’s critical, if unlikely, ally. The administration has rejected calls to place a moratorium on leasing public land to mining firms — even though such leases account for 40 percent of coal mined in the United States. Nor is the administration much interested in blocking exports of coal from such leases to countries where it could be burned without antipollution controls. Or in significantly raising the price of the billions of tons of publicly owned coal now sold at what critics consider bargain rates.
Another cold and bitter splash of reality on Obama’s environmental supporters. Quite the story by Michael Kranish for the Boston Globe.
The grasses are so hard to learn, at least for me. They are beautiful, though.
Publication info Lipsiae,F. Hofmeister [etc.]1834-1912.
New York Botanical Garden