Specialization is for insects

Happy New Year with a New Species!

Not at the top of a mountain, nor at the bottom depths of the ocean. Not in Cambodia nor in Greater Meekong.  A new species has been discovered by Daniel L. Hubert, Morgan D. Jackson, and James J. Smith of the Michigan State University and University of Guelph.  Wow!!!

“Speciation is the process by which life diversifies into discrete forms, and understanding its underlying mechanisms remains a primary focus for biologists. …The speciation mechanism he proposed described a situation where a subpopulation of a herbivore specialist species begins to oviposit (lay eggs) in a host plant species other than its own, and within a “sufficient number” of generations, the laws of inheritance reinforce this subpopulation’s fidelity for that host such that it becomes a ‘phytophagic variety’ distinct from its ancestors. ”

Rhagolitis Bushi New species of Tephritidae. Shepherdia argentea, commonly called silver buffaloberry bull berry, or thorny buffaloberry. CC-BY-SA-3.0 credit Julia Adamson
Rhagolitis Bushi a new species of Tephritidae and the bush Shepherdia argentea, commonly called silver buffaloberry bull berry, or thorny buffaloberry. CC-BY-SA-3.0 credit Julia Adamson

An absolutely beautiful little “Peacock fly” referred to as Rhagoletis Bushi is the name of the new species. The Tephritidae fly family are often referred to as “Peacock Flies” due to their colourful and intricate markings. This nick name is quite puzzling as the Greek root tephros translates as “ash grey.” Rhagoletis Bushi is not ash grey at all, but rather has a russet or ruddy head, white wings with russet banding, and striping across the thorax longitudinally from head towards abdomen. Wheras the abdomen has circular striping colors and similar markings of dangerous arthropods such as wasps which may help Rhagoletis Bushi avoid predation. Rhagoletis Bushi is a fly and does not have a stinger. Ironically the natural enemies include tiny wasps belonging to the family Diapriidae and parasitoid wasps of the Braconidae family.

God knows Himself and every created thing perfectly. Not a blade of grass or the tiniest insect escapes His eye. Mother Angelica

Rhagoletis Bushi has a unique wing banding pattern which other tabellaria species do not have.

The other identifying feature is that Rhagoletis Bushi loves the fruit of the silver buffaloberry (S. Argentea).

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
— Robert Heinlein

Shepherdia argentea, commonly called silver buffaloberry bull berry, or thorny buffaloberry. CC-BY-SA-3.0 credit Julia Adamson
Shepherdia argentea, commonly called silver buffaloberry bull berry, or thorny buffaloberry. CC-BY-SA-3.0 credit Julia Adamson

To locate a cute little Rhagoletis Bushi, find a patch of Silver Buffaloberry (S. Argentea) shrubs. These small trees grow 1-6 meters [3-20 feet] high, and have large thorns. The berries can be formed into cakes, smoked over a wood fire, and eaten, or added to pemmican [a combination of berry and buffalo meat]. Though the Silver Buffaloberry fruit is described as sout or bitter similar to the chokecherry [Prunus viriniana L.], it is great for pies, james, jellies and wine and have a high Vitamin C content. Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide introudecs presentation of the berries, for beverage, sauce, dessert or jelly.
Besides Rhagoletis Bushi, elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, grouse, and birds love the berries of the Silver Buffaloberry. As a matter of fact, the buffalo berry is a staple food for the Sharp-tailed grouse diet, the provincial bird of Saskatchewan.

Shepherdia argentea, commonly called silver buffaloberry bull berry, or thorny buffaloberry. CC-BY-SA-3.0 credit Julia Adamson
Shepherdia argentea, commonly called silver buffaloberry bull berry, or thorny buffaloberry. CC-BY-SA-3.0 credit Julia Adamson

The Silver Buffaloberry improves the habitat, and has been used for watershed management. Thickets of buffaloberry arise from root stocks which produce clones of dense bush and vegetation affording both food and cover for wildlife. Additionally Silver Buffaloberry is nitrogen fixing for the soil. Look for the Silver buffaloberry across the prairie parklands as it is a native bush, along wet meadows, marshy areas, near streams, and rivers.

Quite often in nature plants will support endangered species. Mardon skipper (Polites mardon) butterfly, and Zerene fritillaries (Speyeria zerene) are two butterflies which depend upon the Early-Blue Violet (Viola adunca) for instance. In this case, the thorny buffaloberry Shepherdia argentea supports Rhagoletis Bushi, a specialized frugivore [fruit eater], with a particular taste for this host plant. The buffaloberry fruit is about 5 to 6.35 mm in diameter or 0.2 to 0.25 inches

According to Hulbert, “the flies themselves don’t cause too much trouble for the buffaloberry especially considering they’re both native to North America and have evolved with each other over the course of millennia or more.”  In regards to the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation area, he continues to say; “This fly is one (albeit small) part of the area’s richness!”

Insect Hotels keep good bugs cozy according to Susan Mulvihill. So if you are set on aiding the plight of pollinators and beneficial insects, one way is to construct an insect hotel, or create a botanical garden with native species of plants. And another is to plant Silver Buffaloberry (S. Argentea)

This autumn, when you are out walking past the Silver Buffaloberry bush, keep your eye peeled for the new species just discovered, Rhagoletis Bushi.  “In North America the genus Rhagoletis, is represented by 24 species widely distributed in temperate regions of Canada and the U.S.A. (Bush, 1966; Berlocher & Bush, 1982; Berlocher, 1984; Foote
et al., 1993).[2] “And now there are 25 species!!! Generally speaking, Tephritidae are small to medium-sized (2.5–10 mm or 0.0984-.39 inches) flies, so keep your eyes peeled; the coloration and markings of Rhagoletis Bushi will make the search quite worthwhile!

So Happy New Year, with a New Species

All the best to you and yours in 2018

Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain. Henry David Thoreau

  • Kingdom — Animalia. Animal
    • Subkingdom Bilateria
        • Superphylum Ecdysozoa
          • Phylum Arthropoda (from Greek ἄρθρον arthron, “joint” and πούς pous, “foot”) an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton (external skeleton), a segmented body, and paired jointed appendages
            • Subphylum Hexapoda: Insects from the Greek for six legs featuring a consolidated thorax with three pairs of legs.
              • Class Insecta – insects
                • Subclass Pterygota [Greek pterugōtós, “winged”] includes the winged insects.
                  • Infraclass Neoptera – modern, wing-folding insects
                    • Superorder Holometabola. Endopterygota Holometablous complete metamorphism, with four life stages – as an embryo or egg, a larva, a pupa and an imago or adult.
                      Wings develop within body during pupation
                      Immatures (larvae) do not resemble adults

                      • Order Diptera {from Greek di- “two”, and pteron “wings”} True Flies bearing considerable ecological and human importance.
  • Suborder Brachycera
    • Infraorder Muscomorpha
      • Section Schizophora
        • Subsection Acalyptratae having the alula or calypter small or absent. This alula [calypter is defined as a small membranous flap at the base of the hind edge. Alula is latin for winged, and acts as a “Thumb” to help prevent stalling when landing or flying at low speeds. Where Calypter comes from the Greek kalypter translated as covering, or sheath.
          • Superfamily Tephritoidea also from the Greek a- and Calyptratae.
            • Family Tephritidae true fruit flies” or “peacock flies” not to be confused with genus Drosophila “common fruit fly” (in the family Drosophilidae)
              • Subfamily: Trypetinae
                • Tribe: Carpomyiini
                  • Subtribe: Carpomyina
                    • Genus: Rhagoletis. Morphology described in source [1]
                      • Species: Rhagoletis tabellaria (Fitch, 1855) “White Banded Fruitfly”
                        • Rhagoletis Bushi.

If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.
— Edward O. Wilson

BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Foote, Richard H. The Genus Rhagoletis Loew South of the United States. [Diptera: Tephritidae] United States Department of Agriculture. Technical Bulletin Number 1607. Prepared by Science and Education Administration. http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/157851/files/tb1607.pdf Retrieved December 28, 2017

2. Hernandez-Ortiz, Vicente and Daniel Frias L. A revision of the striatella specis group of the genus Rahgoletis (Diptera: Tephritidae) 1999. Insecta Mundi.Center for Systematic Entomology, Gainesville, Florida. 322. University of Nebraska. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1321&context=insectamundi Retrieved December 28, 2017

3. Hulbert, Daniel L., Morgan D. Jackson and James J. Smith. A New Species of Rhagoletis [Diptera: Tephritidae] in the tabellaria species group: morphology, molecular phylogenetics, and host-plant use. Insect Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Laboratory Michigan State University, and University of Guelph. 2017. Scientific Conference ~ The Entomological Society of America annual meeting.

4. Mattsson, Monte Arthur, “The Impeccable Timing of the Apple Maggot Fly,Rhagoletis pomonella(Dipetera: Tephritidae), and itsImplications for Ecological Speciation” (2015).Dissertations and Theses. Portland State University. Paper 2627 https://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.ca/&httpsredir=1&article=3632&context=open_access_etds

5. Rhagoletis Tabellaria (Fitch, 1855) Taxonoic Serial N. 1427808. ITIS Report. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) December 28, 2017. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=142708#null Retrieved December 28, 2017

6. Species Rhagoletis tabellaria. Bug Guide. Iowa State University. Department of Entomology. 2003-2017. https://bugguide.net/node/view/15265 Retrieved December 28, 2017 {Shows images of Rhagoletis Tabelleria}

“A single swallow, it is said, devours ten millions of insects every year. The supplying of these insects I take to be a signal instance of the Creator’s bounty in providing for the lives of His creatures.”
— Ambrose Bierce

For more information:
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city. 52° 06′ 106° 45′
Addresses:
Part SE 23-36-6 – Afforestation Area – 241 Township Road 362-A
Part SE 23-36-6 – SW Off-Leash Recreation Area (Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area ) – 355 Township Road 362-A
S ½ 22-36-6 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (West of SW OLRA) – 467 Township Road 362-A
NE 21-36-6 “George Genereux” Afforestation Area – 133 Range Road 3063
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Facebook: StBarbeBaker
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
Contact the Meewasin Valley Authority in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The MVA has begun a Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund. If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund (MVA RSBBAA trust fund)”. Please and thank you!
Twitter: StBarbeBaker
Please contemplate joining the SOS Elms coalition or make a donation to SOS Elms ~ leave a message to support the afforestation area  😉

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Knowledge of the Butterfly

There is another aspect of life on the land; while working in forest or garden a man has time for meditation and indeed his very act is devotion. He becomes in tune with the Infinite. ~Richard St. Barbe Baker

“Entomology extends the limits of being in new directions, so that I walk in nature with a sense of greater space and freedom. It suggests, besides, that the universe is not rough-hewn, but perfect in its details. Nature will bear the closest inspection; she invites us to lay our eye level with the smallest leaf and take an insect view of its plane.”—Henry David Thoreau.

In popular esteem the butterflies among the insects are what the birds are among the higher animals—the most attractive and beautiful members of the great group to which they belong. Entomology happens to be the branch of zoology focussing on the study of insects. Butterflies are primarily day fliers (diurnal) and remarkable for the delicacy and beauty of their membranous wings, covered with myriads of tiny scales that overlap one another like the shingles on a house and show an infinite variety of hue through the coloring of the scales and their arrangement upon the translucent membrane running between the wing veins. It is this characteristic structure of the wings that gives to the great order of butterflies and moths its name “Lepidoptera”, meaning scale-winged.

The Entomological Society of Saskatchewan takes part in the North American Butterfly Count July 21. The society members will also give talks, presentations and displays.

Take the time to learn how to establish a pollinator native plant ribbon or butterfly garden. The North American Butterfly Association will provide Certification for your butterfly garden.

Ronald R. Hooper states that 160 species of butterflies are known in Saskatchewan, in families known as skippers, swallowtails, whites, sulphurs, marbles, hairstreaks, harvester, metalmarks, brushfooted butterflies, meadow browns, and coppers (see bibliography for scientific nomenclature). Every fall the Monarchs journey from Canada to California or Mexico, and they return to Canada in the spring. During this migration phone Nature Saskatchewan’s toll-free line at 1-800-667-HOOT (4668) to report any Monarch Butterfly sightings.  When you are out and about this season, keep an ear out, do tell if there is the slightest murmuration when the butterflies migrate past.

And, whereas, the Monarch is known to migrate, this is not the case with all butterflies. Most of the Swallowtails pass the winter as chrysalids while practically all the Angle-wings pass the winter as adults. The Graylings and the Fritillaries are typical examples of butterflies which hibernate as newly hatched larvae. Many species simply find such shelter as they may at or near the soil surface, others may hibernate under boards, stones, or tufts of grass. The Swallowtails, nearly all of which hibernate in the chrysalis stage. Other examples are the various Whites, the Orange-tips, and isolated species like the Wanderer, and the Spring Azure and the American Copper. Now, an adult butterfly seems a fragile creature to endure the long cold months of winter, however many of our most beautiful species habitually hibernate as adults, finding shelter in such situations as hollow trees, the crevices in rocks, the openings beneath loose bark or even the outer bark on the under side of a large branch.

The butterflies furnish the best known examples of insect transformations. The change from the egg to the caterpillar or larva, from the caterpillar to the pupa or chrysalis, and from the chrysalis to the butterfly or imago is doubtless the most generally known fact concerning the life histories of insects. If you do not know the name of the lepidoptera larva, butterfly or moth that you have found, try to take a photograph of it. Identify your sighting at this web site which features an image gallery. If you have a photo of a caterpillar send in information about the plant that the caterpillar was found upon to Butterflies and Moths of North America and help to grow the database.

The Entomological Society of Canada hosts a Common Names database for insects and other related arthropods.

Learn about Butterflies Day Tuesday March 14.

1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something.: ***

“The study of butterflies,—creatures selected as the types of airiness and frivolity,—instead of being despised, will some day be valued as one of the most important branches of biological science.”—Bates, Naturalist on the Amazons.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Aquatex Consulting ~ A guide to aquatic insects of Saskatchewan.

Butterfly Count 2

Canadian Geography and Butterfly Distribution. Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility. CBIF

Forte, Theresa M. Butterfly Gardens can be Elegant. Landscape Saskatchewan.

Froehlich, Shirley. Milkweeds and Monarchs. Prairie Originals

Holland, William Jacob. The butterfly book A popular guide to a knowledge of the Butterflies of North America. 1898. Garden City New York Doubleday, Page and Company.

  • The Butterflies of North America North of Mexico.
    Family I. Nymphalidae, the Brush-footed Butterflies
  • Subfamily Euplaeinae, the Milkweed Butterflies
  • Subfamily Ithomiinae, the Long-winged Butterflies
  • Subfamily Heliconiinae, the Heliconians
  • Subfamily Nymphalinae, the Nymphs
  • Subfamily Satyrinae, the Satyrs, Meadow-browns, and Arctics
  • Subfamily Libytheinae, the Snout-butterflies
  • Family II. Lemoniidae
  • Subfamily Erycininae, the Metal-marks
  • Family III. Lycaenidae
  • Subfamily Lycaeninae, the Hair-streaks, the Blues, and the Coppers
  • Family IV. Papilionidae, the Swallowtails and Allies
  • Subfamily Pierinae, the Whites, the Sulphurs, the Orange-tips
  • Subfamily Papilioninae, the Parnassians and Swallowtails
  • Family V. Hesperiidae, the Skippers
  • Subfamily Pyrrhopyginae
  • Subfamily Hesperiinae, the Hesperids
  • Subfamily Pamphilinae
  • Subfamily Megathyminae, genus Megathymus

Hooper, Ronald R. Butterflies and Moths. Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Centre, University of Regina. 2006

Hot, dry weather yields blizzard of butterflies. Bugs go through 3-5 generations in 1 summer. CBC News. Aug 11, 2016

Identify a Butterfly, Moth or Caterpillar. Butterflies and moths of North America.

It is prime butterfly time in Saskatchewan. CBC News. August 2, 2016

Monarch Butterflies start their migration in Saskatchewan. Weyburn this week. August 12, 2016

Monarch Butterfly Cycle. Homeschool Travelers. World Wide Traveling.

Monarchs and milkweed. Nature Conservancy of Canada NCC

Places to find milkweed in Sask. to conserve Monarch butterflies CBC News. April 2, 2016

Walk through the Prairie Getting to know Canada.

“What hand would crush the silken-wingèd fly,
The youngest of inconstant April’s minions,
Because it cannot climb the purest sky,
Where the swan sings,
amid the sun’s dominions?

Not thine.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley.

There is another aspect of life on the land; while working in forest or garden a man has time for meditation and indeed his very act is devotion. He becomes in tune with the Infinite. The miracle of growth and the seasons’ changes induce a sense of wonderment and call forth worship from his inner being and in this sense WORK becomes WORSHIP.~ Richard St. Barbe Baker.

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Facebook: StBarbeBaker
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque please to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund” (MVA RSBBAA trust fund) and mail it to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area c/o Meewasin Valley Authority, 402 Third Ave S, Saskatoon SK S7K 3G5. Thank you kindly!
Twitter: St Barbe Baker

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

“Winged flowers, or flying gems.”

Moore.