Sunday, December 12, 2010

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly ( Speyeria cybele )

Family: Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)

Subfamily: Longwings (Heliconiinae)

Identification: Large. Upperside of male tan to orange with black scales on forewing veins; female tawny, darker than male. Underside of hindwingwith wide pale submarginal band and large silver spots. 

Life history: Males patrol open areas for females. Eggs are laid in late summer on or near host violets. Newly-hatched caterpillars do not feed, butoverwinter until spring, when they eat young violet leaves. 

Flight: One brood from mid-June to mid-September.

Wing span: 2 1/2 - 4 inches (6.3 - 10.1 cm). 

Caterpillar hosts: Various violet species (Viola). 

Adult food: Nectar from many species of flowers including milkweeds, thistles, ironweed, dogbane, mountain laurel, verbena, vetch, bergamot, red clover, joe-pye weed, and purple coneflower. 

Habitat: Open, moist places including fields, valleys, pastures, right-of-ways, meadows, open woodland, prairies. 

Range: Alberta east to Nova Scotia, south to central California, New Mexico, central Arkansas, and northern Georgia. Comments: The most common fritillary throughout most of the eastern United States. 

Conservation: Not usually required. 

Cabbage White Butterfly ( Pieris rapae )

Egg: Eggs are laid singly, usually on the lower surface of outer leaves of plants. The egg measures 0.5 mm in width and 1.0 mm in length, and initially is pale white in color but eventually turns yellowish. The egg is laid on end, with the point of attachment flattened and the distal end tapering to a blunt point. The shape is sometimes described as resembling a bullet.
Larva: The larva is green, velvety in appearance, and bears five pairs of prolegs. There are five instars. Head capsule widths are about 0.4, 0.6, 0.97, 1.5, and 2.2 mm, respectively. Body lengths at maturity of each instar averages 3.2, 8.8, 14.0, 20.2, and 30.1 mm, respectively. The larva requires about 15 days (range 11 to 33 days) to complete its development during August. Average (and range) of development times for each instar at 19°C was observed to be 4.5 (2.5-6), 3.0 (1.5-5), 3.3 (2-5), 4.1 (3-6.5), and 7.8 (5-18) days, respectively. All larval stages except the first instar bear a narrow yellow line running along the center of the back; this stripe is sometimes incomplete on the early instars. A broken yellow line, or series of yellow spots, also occurs on each side.

Pupa: Pupation normally occurs on the food plant, but cabbageworm may pupate in nearby debris. The chrysalis is about 18 to 20 mm in length, and varies in color, usually yellow, gray, green and speckled brown. A sharply angled, keel-like projection is evident dorsally on the thorax, and dorsolaterally on each side of the abdomen. At pupation, the chrysalis is anchored by the tip of the abdomen to the silk pad, and a strand of silk is loosely spun around the thorax. Pupation during the summer generations lasts about 11 days. The chrysalis is the overwintering stage, however, so its duration may be prolonged for months. The proportion of pupae that diapause increases as autumn progresses, so that at the time of the final generation all pupae are in diapause.

Adult: Upon emergence from the chrysalis the butterfly has a wing span of about 4.5 to 6.5 cm. It is white above with black at the tips of the forewings. The front wings are also marked with black dots: two in the central area of each forewing in the female, and one in case of males. When viewed from below, the wings generally are yellowish, and the black spots usually show faintly through the wings. The hind wing of each sex also bears a black spot on the anterior edge. The body of the butterfly is covered with dense hair, which is colored white in females, but darker in males. The adult typically lives about three weeks. The female produces 300 to 400 eggs. The adult is very active during the daylight hours, often moving from the crop to flowering weeds to feed.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Family: Parnassians and Swallowtails (Papilionidae)

Subfamily: Swallowtails (Papilioninae)

Identification: Male is yellow with dark tiger stripes. Female has 2 forms: one yellow like the male and the other black with shadows of dark stripes. Hindwing of both female forms has many iridescent blue scales and an orange marginal spot. On the underside of forewing of both female forms the row of marginal spots has merged into a continuous band.

Life history: Males patrol for receptive females. Females lay eggs singly on host leaves. Caterpillars eat leaves and rest on silken mats in shelters of curled leaves. Chrysalids overwinter.

Flight: 3 flights from February-November in Deep South; 2 flights from May-September in north.

Wing span: 3 5/8 - 6 1/2 inches (9.2 - 16.5 cm).

Caterpillar hosts: Leaves of various plants including wild cherry (Prunus), sweetbay (Magnolia), basswood (Tilia), tulip tree (Liriodendron), birch (Betula), ash (Fraxinus), cottonwood (Populus), mountain ash (Sorbus), and willow (Salix).

Adult food: Nectar of flowers from a variety of plants including wild cherry and lilac (Syringa vulgaris).

Habitat: Deciduous broadleaf woods, forest edges, river valleys, parks, and suburbs.

Range: Eastern North America from Ontario south to Gulf coast, west to Colorado plains and central Texas.

Conservation: Not required.


Hibiscus: yellow flower
Name: Hibiscus yellow flower (Sorrel, Rose mallow)
Kingdom: Planate
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Hibiscus
Species: over 200

Size: 4–18 cm broad. The color and the size of the flowers make them quite prominent attracting humans and insects. Theses flowers can be of several colors white, pink, red, purple or yellow. The leaves of the flower are in alternate arrangement. They have a zigzag margin and are ovate to lanceolate.

Habitat: In mild climate they flower almost all the year round and they grow and flower in a wide range of soil but well-drained and the soil which is rich in organic matter. The flowers of the hibiscus are large, and mostly have 5 petals that are oval shaped at the ends. Hibiscus plants need soil that is high in nutrients, and drains well. The soil must have 6-to 6.5 pH level. You can also add mulch to the topmost layer of the soil. These tropical plants mostly prefer sandy soil as it drains well.

Range: North America, Caribbean, South America (hibiscus is most often planted as a shrub in outdoor landscaping) ( Location: Near West Mount Royal Ave. )

Notes: Flower color in certain species, such as H. mutabilis and H. tiliaceus, changes with age.
Hibiscuses are used as show flowers and also has medicinal properties. It is used to make medicine and plays quite a big role in hair care.

The extract of Hibiscus is used in hair and scalp treatment. Infusions of the Hibiscus flower and the leaves mixed with herbal oils are applied on the scalp and are believed to enhance hair growth.
It also stimulates blood circulation and ensures the supply of essential nutrients to the hair follicles.
The use of Hibiscus on scalp can also bring down fever and can also help in case of rashes since it can bring down a lot of heat.

Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly

Photo by Erik Nielsen - 6/30/2002Turkey Hill Reservation, Hingham
Photo by Fred Goodwin - 6/18/2002At the Mill Pond in West NewburyLarva on ash seedling
Photo by Erik Nielsen - 6/30/2002Turkey Hill Reservation, Hingham

hoto by Frank Model - 7/12/2007Moran Wildlife Management Area, WindsorMale

The Baltimore checkerspot butterfly sent the results of annual census of the fluttering creatures fluttering off the chart this summer, according to results released on Wednesday by the Audubon Society of Rhode Island.

More than twice as many butterflies -- 7,221, of many species -- were counted this year in a two-day period than in 2008, said July Lewis, volunteer coordinator for the nonprofit environmental organization, whose headquarters is in Smithfield.

That increase was almost entirely due to the checkerspot, the state butterfly of Maryland, which mysteriously has taken up residence in dense numbers in a privately owned field in Bristol, Lewis said. The volunteers tallied 3,240 checkerspots.

"The population of the field is unusual for sure," she said. "We are looking into it. It's fascinating. I think we found 40 checkerspots in the whole rest of the state. This one place is very unusual."

M. Deane Bowers, a professor from the University of Colorado who is spending a sabbatical at Brown University, said in an Audubon news release, "In over 30 years of studying the Baltimore checkerspot, I have never seen a population this size."

The vivid orange and black checkerspots are native to the East Coast, but are much more common in Southern states.

Lewis said the checkerspots' favorite chow used to be the turtlehead plant, which is not very abundant in Rhode Island. For that reason, she speculated, the population of checkerspots remained low.

But starting some time in the 1980s the checkerspots' caterpillars switched to English plantain.

"The turtlehead is restricted to wetlands, but plantain is found everywhere, even in cities," Lewis said. "They eat it right down to the nub."

Bowers said that the voracious caterpillars ate their way through the field and began crossing a road to find more food.

Lewis said that Audubon had been aware of the Bristol field for some time, but the sheer size of the butterfly numbers had made it "daunting" in the past to contemplate doing a proper census.

"This year we said, 'Darn it, we're going to get a team together,' " she said.

So volunteers lined up abreast and marched through the field like searchers looking for a lost child. And as they went they "took a transect" -- scribbled their findings down as they plowed along.

The North American Butterfly Association organizes a census every year across the continent, Lewis said. "They call it the Fourth of July count, because that's when they start."

The census takers mark out a circle 15 miles in diameter and count everything they see. There are five such circles in Rhode Island, each one in a different county.


we know that MICA has a sustainability blog already! :]   
this blog is made so that more people can be made aware of that,but also for people that just want to get plugged in to the community and that aren't aware of the concepts of sustainability and biodiversity! also, we just want people to know about where they can find some good green places around campus.

here are some to start:
Druid Hill Park-
John Street Park-
Patterson Park-

here is a nice link about the trees in bolton hill-

this is MICA's sustainability blog link-

Tiff :]

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Field Guide Project

The Buddha Garden

MICA Sustainable Food Project

 The student-run MICA Sustainable Food Project a urban garden adjacent to the Fox Building, a non-profit worm exchange for indoor composting, beekeeping efforts, and a farm stand from July through September on Cohen Plaza, with proceeds going back to the garden.

Miranda Pfeiffer '11, an interdisciplinary sculpture major and a co-founder of the student group, said, "The garden's goal in the short term is educational. Most of us involved recognized a need to learn to grow our own food. And with MICA alumni like Greg Strella of Great Kids Farm or the Baltimore Development Cooperative, which works at Participation Park, it's reasonable to think that the skills we learn here may mature into larger projects."

"Our yield is currently modest, but in the next few years, it would be wonderful to supply campus dining or local organizations such as homeless shelters. And our garden is quite visible; being so close to the light rail means that innumerable Baltimoreans pass by every day. Sometimes they wave at us; sometimes I meet people outside of MICA who tell me they've seen me watering the plants. We like to think that our garden can serve as an inspiration to others."
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystembiome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is one measure of the health of ecosystems. Life on Earth today consists of many millions of distinct biological species.