Butterfly

blue butterflyThomas Say (1787-1834)
American entomology, or Descriptions of the insects of North America:
illustrated by coloured figures from original drawings executed from nature

As a boy, Thomas Say, born into a prominent Quaker family in Philadelphia, often visited the family garden, Bartram’s Garden, where he could take butterfly and beetle specimens to his great-uncle William.
A self-taught naturalist, he became an apothecary, and helped found the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia in 1812.
He served as librarian for the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, curator at the American Philosophical Society, and professor of natural history at the University of Pennsylvania
In 1816, he met Charles Alexandre Lesueur, a French naturalist, malacologist, and ichthyologist who soon became a member of the Academy and served as its curator until 1824.

To collect insects, Say made expeditions to the frontier, in spite of the risk of attacks by American Indians and the hazards of traveling in wild countryside.
In 1818, Say accompanied his friend William Maclure, then the ANSP president and father of American geology; Gerhard Troost, a geologist; and other members of the Academy on a geological expedition to the off-shore islands of Georgia and Florida, then a Spanish colony.

In 1819–20, Major Stephen Harriman Long led an exploration to the Rocky Mountains and the tributaries of the Missouri River, with Say as zoologist.
Their official account of this expedition included the first descriptions of the coyote, swift fox, western kingbird, band-tailed pigeon, rock wren, Say’s phoebe, lesser goldfinch, lark sparrow, lazuli bunting, and orange-crowned warbler.

In 1823, Say served as chief zoologist in Long’s expedition to the headwaters of the Mississippi River.
He traveled on the “Boatload of Knowledge” to the New Harmony Settlement in Indiana (1826–34), a utopian society experiment founded by Robert Owen.
He was accompanied by Maclure, Lesueur, Troost, and Francis Neef, an innovative education reformer.
There he later met Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz, another naturalist.

Say married Lucy Way Sistare, whom he had met as one of the passengers to New Harmony, near the settlement.
She was an artist and illustrator of specimens, as in the book American Conchology, and was elected as the first woman member of the Academy of Natural Sciences

Say was a modest and unassuming man, who lived frugally, like a hermit, in New Harmony. He abandoned commercial activities and devoted himself to his studies.
He died, apparently from typhoid fever, when he was 47 years old.

The quality of the plates, in his book on American insects, and the clarity of Say’s description won him immediate fame abroad, and he was made a foreign member of the Linnean Society of London.
Say named some 1,500 new species – many of his discoveries (such as the American dog tick) were crucial for the future study and control of disease in humans, livestock and crops


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http://www.abaa.org/book/844565199

 

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Butterfly – Ten Percent Remain

Butterfly detail

Monarch populations down 90% in 20 yrs. They need help, @USFWSHQ. Add them to the threatened species list under ESA! http://bit.ly/ProtectMonarchs

The Fragile Populations

1280px-Studies_of_Flowers_and_Butterflies,_watercolor_painting_on_parchment_by_Joris_Hoefnagel,_Flanders,_1590,_HAA

Sharp Decline of the Monarch Butterfly

A new census found this winter’s population of North American monarch butterflies in Mexico was at the lowest level ever measured. University of Kansas insect ecologist Orley R. Taylor talks to Yale Environment 360 about how the planting of genetically modified crops and the resulting use of herbicides has contributed to the monarchs’ decline.

Taylor talked about the factors that have led to the sharp drop in the monarch population. Among them is the increased planting of genetically modified corn in the U.S. Midwest, which has led to greater use of herbicides, which in turn kills the milkweed that is a prime food source for the butterflies.

“What we’re seeing here in the United States,” he said, “is a very precipitous decline of monarchs that’s coincident with the adoption of Roundup-ready corn and soybeans.
The glyphosate used in agriculture has tripled since 1997, when they first introduced these Roundup-ready crops. The developers of these crops not only provided the seeds that were glyphosate-resistant, but they also provided the glyphosate — the Roundup. And, boy, that was a pretty good system. You could make money on both, right?

It’s a collateral damage issue. And one of the things that we’re worried about now is that it looks like there’s going to be a lot of collateral damage from the use of various herbicides and pesticides coming down.’

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/tracking_the_causes_of_sharp__decline_of_the_monarch_butterfly/2634/


In fact, insects such as butterflies, moths, bumblebees and mayflies have been disappearing for a long time, although hardly anyone except specialists has noticed or cared . . . http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/michael-mccarthy-this-isnt-just-about-bees-ndash-it-affects-everything-2189269.html

https://secretgardening.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/bees-facing-a-poisoned-spring/

The Shadows of Things

butterflies-columbine-hoefJoris Hoefnagel  (1542, Antwerp – 24 July 1601, Vienna)

“Let us take off the spectacles that show us the shadows of things instead of the things themselves,”
Danish physician Olaus Worm, 1588 – 1655.

‘In a very modern, empirical mode, Worm determined that the unicorn did not exist and that purported unicorn horns were really simply from the narwhal. At the same time, however, he then wondered if the anti-poison properties associated with a unicorn’s horn still held true, and undertook experiments in poisoning pets and then serving them ground up narwhal horn (his poisoning must have been relatively mild because he reported that they did recover).

His other empirical investigations included providing convincing evidence that lemmings were rodents and not, as some thought, spontaneously generated by the air.’

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The Temple of Nature

Georg Flegel 1566–1638

Erasmus Darwin (1731 – 1802) was an English physician who turned down George III’s invitation to be a physician to the King.

He formed the Lichfield Botanical Society in order to translate the works of the Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus from Latin into English: A System of Vegetables and The Families of Plants, in which he coined many of the English names of plants that we use today.

Darwin then wrote The Loves of the Plants, a long poem which was a popular rendering of Linnaeus’ works, and Economy of Vegetation, and together the two were published as The Botanic Garden.

Darwin’s final long poem, The Temple of Nature, centers on his own conception of evolution and traces the progression of life from micro-organisms to civilized society.

He established a lifelong friendship with Benjamin Franklin and shared his support for the American and French revolutions, he endorsed a proper education for women, and along with other members of the Lunar Society he opposed the slave trade.

His experiments in galvanism were an important source of inspiration when Mary Shelley wrote “Frankenstein.”

Cosmological speculation of Erasmus Darwin:

Roll on, ye Stars! exult in youthful prime,
Mark with bright curves the printless steps of Time;
Near and more near your beamy cars approach,
And lessening orbs on lessening orbs encroach; —
Flowers of the sky! ye too to age must yield,
Frail as your silken sisters of the field!
Star after star from Heaven’s high arch shall rush,
Suns sink on suns, and systems systems crush,
Headlong, extinct, to one dark center fall,
And Death and Night and Chaos mingle all!
— Till o’er the wreck, emerging from the storm,
Immortal Nature lifts her changeful form,
Mounts from her funeral pyre on wings of flame,
And soars and shines, another and the same.

butterflies, moths, bumblebees & mayflies have been disappearing for a long time

 

A new generation of pesticides is making honeybees far more susceptible to disease, even at tiny doses, and may be a clue to the mysterious colony collapse disorder that has devastated bees across the world, the US government’s leading bee researcher has found. Yet the discovery has remained unpublished for nearly two years since it was made by the US Department of Agriculture’s Bee Research Laboratory.

In fact, insects such as butterflies, moths, bumblebees and mayflies have been disappearing for a long time, although hardly anyone except specialists has noticed or cared . . .

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/exclusive-bees-facing-a-poisoned-spring-2189267.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/michael-mccarthy-this-isnt-just-about-bees-ndash-it-affects-everything-2189269.html

In the middle of nowhere


Genetically modified seeds, scattered during harvest, or fallen off a truck during transport, lead to transgenic plants cross-pollinating in the wild.

 

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=genetically-modified-crop

 

The Diaries of Adam and Eve

 

best-moth-gem“These remarkable photographs were taken by physiotherapist Miroslaw Swietek at around 3 am in the forest next to his home in Jaroszow, Poland.”

 

I feel like an experiment, I feel exactly like an experiment; it would be impossible for a person to feel more like an experiment than I do …
Everything looks better today than it did yesterday. In the rush of finishing up yesterday, the mountains were left in a ragged condition …
There are too many stars in some places and not enough in others, but that can be remedied presently, no doubt. The moon got loose last night, and slid down and fell out of the scheme — a very great loss; it breaks my heart to think of it. There isn’t another thing among the ornaments and decorations that is comparable to it for beauty and finish. It should have been fastened better. If we can only get it back again —


Eve’s Diary

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835 – 1910)

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1260946/The-stunning-pictures-sleeping-insects-covered-early-morning-dew.html#ixzz0pom0gmqA