Once common along the Oregon coast, the Oregon silverspot was reduced to four Oregon populations by the 1990s. The species was listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1980 – one of two Oregon butterflies listed as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
“They face a lot of obstacles,” Andersen said. “Development, motor vehicles, bad weather, pesticides, invasive species, natural predators like spiders.…”
In addition to releasing pupae, the Oregon Zoo raises and plants thousands of early blue violets, on which the Oregon silverspot depends, into butterfly habitat.
“When the caterpillars hatch, they’re tiny – just about the size of Abe Lincoln’s nose on a penny,” Andersen said. “But they will eat more than 300 nickel-sized violet leaves before they’re ready to pupate.”
“What he captured was nothing short of magical,” Andersen said. “When a caterpillar pupates, all of its molecules literally liquefy, and it reformulates as a butterfly. Sometimes you need to have a meltdown in order to change your life.”
Iconically coloured, friends to farmers and gardeners alike, and named
after The Virgin Mary, Ladybirds are undoubtedly the most popular of all
Written by three hugely experienced ‘ladybirders’, the book provides
instructions of how, when and where to find different species of ladybird,
how to identify the adults, and facilitates involvement in current research
projects on ladybirds. Excitingly, the book sets out ways in which readers
can contribute to national surveys of ladybirds, initiated as a result of the
recent arrival of the invasive alien harlequin ladybird in 2004.