Butterfly Walk with Mr. Victor DeMasi – Discovery Center

 

Papilio thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)

Papilio thoas (Thoas Swallowtail)

Searching for butterflies will happen Saturday, August 15th at 10:00 A.M. in the parking area on the corner of Simpaug Turnpike and Route 7 (near the Norwalk River Study Area).  The Discovery Center at Ridgefield is hosting a Butterfly search for all ages led by Victor DeMasi, local lepidopterist.  DeMasi is a curatorial affiliate at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and has traveled widely studying butterflies in Africa and South America. The walk will begin with a viewing of some museum specimens and books.

Interested parties can contact Victor DeMasi in the evenings at 203.448.0106 for additional information. Supervised children with a serious interest in natural history are welcome. Participants must wear long pants with sturdy shoes and take proper precautions against tick bites and sun exposure. Participants can park in the Norwalk River Study site’s small parking lot on the corner of Simpaug Turnpike and Route 7 at 10:00 A.M.  Long pants and sturdy shoes and tick protection are advised.

Program will be rain or shine!  In case of inclement weather, an alternative program will be presented by Mr. DeMasi at the same location.

All ages are welcome.  Members are free, and non-members are $7 per person. Please call 203.438.1063 or visit the DC website www.ridgefielddiscovery.org to make reservations.

 

A behemoth of a butterfly is back in our state. Giant Swallowtails which surpass even Monarchs in size were being regularly sited last season in Connecticut, chances are their populations are due to explode this year. They will be hard to miss – jet black, yellow patches, and big in size.

Victor DeMasi, lepidopterist holds a Giant Swallowtail at the Peabody Museum. This behemoth of a butterfly is back in our state. Giant Swallowtails which surpass even Monarchs in size were being regularly sited last season in Connecticut, chances are their populations are due to explode this year. They will be hard to miss – jet black, yellow patches, and big in size.

Watch out for Giant Swallowtails

A behemoth of a butterfly is back in our state. Giant Swallowtails which surpass even Monarchs in size were being regularly sited last season in Connecticut, chances are their populations are due to explode this year. They will be hard to miss, jet black, yellow patches, and big in size.

Swallowtails like all butterflies hatch from eggs that feed on plants as caterpillars. After weeks of dining the insects morph into the adults we see nectaring in our gardens. The giants feed only on mountain ash which is fairly common in Connecticut but wilts as soon as fall frost arrives. Wilted leaves are poor feeding for Giant’s caterpillars which starve on frost damaged foliage. Connecticut has recently experienced warmer fall weather and later frosts which have produced excellent feeding conditions for Giant Swallowtails to complete their life cycle and return to our state which they have. The province of Ontario in Canada which has a traditionally colder regime than our state is experiencing a similar warming. Giant Swallowtails are being seen in those Canadian meadows by several dozen at a time.

The Peabody Museum at Yale has specimens of Giant Swallowtails butterflies collected in the 1950’s by several lepidopterists. They were again sighted briefly as caterpillars feeding on mountain ash in north west Connecticut in the mid 1980,s. The Connecticut Butterfly Atlas, was a massive effort over 5 years to document the states fauna. 110 different species of butterflies were recorded by 351 searchers. More than eight thousand butterflies were sighted but not one Giant Swallowtail although everybody looked hard. It may not take a lot of looking this year to find one. The Butterfly Atlas was completed in 1999 and is one of the best local field guides to a fauna in the country. It can be purchased on line from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection bookstore for $19.95

 

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