February 18, 2015 |
Their critical food source - native milkweed - isn't a weed but a native perennial plant. For the delicate and colorful monarch butterfly, the leaves offer food for its larvae and the bright flowers produce nectar for the adults. But milkweed has been nearly eradicated across large portions of the country, threatening the butterfly's annual 2,000-mile transcontinental migration from Canada to Mexico. Monarch numbers have declined in New Jersey and Pennsylvania in recent years, and dropped by 90 percent over the last 20 years at their final destination.
January 9, 2015 |
It was like any other Friday morning for Chris Johnson, a volunteer at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University: Help clean the butterfly exhibit, feed the insects, check to see if any new ones emerged overnight. Black ones, red ones, spotted ones, and -. Whoa. As Johnson watched, an adult butterfly unfolded wings that were deep brown with tan spots on the right side, and black with a border of jade, violet, and light-blue on the left. Johnson knew that the creature, which had been shipped from Malaysia in its pupal stage, was a gynandromorph: half male and half female.
September 18, 2014 |
CAPE MAY - Many of them begin the 2,000-mile transcontinental journey in Canada and arrive in New Jersey every September and October on the way to their wintering grounds in Mexico. Delicate and weighing only a half gram, hundreds of thousands of monarch butterflies - with colorful wings like stained-glass windows - pause in Cape May before crossing the Delaware Bay. But in recent years, their numbers have declined in New Jersey, and over the last 20 years, they've dropped by more than 90 percent at their final destination, Mexico's mountains, said the Monarch Monitoring Project, a research and education program run through the New Jersey Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory.
September 21, 2013 |
HARRISBURG First there were endangered species, then endangered buildings. Now Pennsylvania is recognizing its most threatened objects. And we're not talking about just any old dust-collecting bric-a-brac. These are priceless artifacts - tangible pieces of Pennsylvania history. An elaborately illustrated 16th-century Mennonite Bible; the oldest surviving butterfly specimens; Red Grooms' celebrated Philadelphia quadricentennial installation, "Philadelphia Cornucopia"; and Thaddeus Stevens' wig are all among the pieces housed in Pennsylvania collections and named to the state's first list of Top Ten Endangered Artifacts.
August 26, 2013 |
The monarch butterflies at the Tyler Arboretum were about a week old, so it was time for them to move on. About 60 orange-and-black monarchs, freshly emerged from their chrysalises, were tagged and released into the wild at the arboretum's Butterfly Festival on Saturday. Over the next several weeks, the delicate insects will flutter about 2,500 miles south and then west before settling in a central Mexican mountain range with millions of others, the longest migratory journey of any North American butterfly.
July 21, 2013
A caption Friday with a photograph of a butterfly gave the wrong species of butterfly. It was a tiger swallowtail.
April 5, 2013 |
Dressed in clothing with holes and sweaters marked by yellow stars, the actors from the Wolf Performing Arts Center played out a children's story of fear, sadness, and hope while in the Terezin concentration camp. The words came from the poems and stories in the book and play I Never Saw Another Butterfly, based on the experiences of the children who wrote poems and made artworks to pass the time in the camp. The title comes from a poem, "The Butterfly," written by one of the children.
March 5, 2013 |
DEAD BUTTERFLIES, more colorful than any exotic bloom. Old oil drums and milk jugs, transformed into something new. But nothing at the Philadelphia Flower Show represents life's endless loop more than the giant, steaming pile of . . . "Mommy, it's poop ," a giggling little girl said Sunday, at one unique display. The large, cartoon-like pile of poop is part of the Philadelphia Water Department's award-winning "The Power of Poop" display at the flower show. The display is all about reusing waste to create power, from our own waste to the scraps we shove down the garbage disposal.
January 27, 2013
The made-up stories of the next five months are passionate, often international, sometimes (or are they?) occult. The short novel and short story are coming on strong again. Biography, autobiography, and history loom large, as always, among nonfiction titles. Butterflies and the Bible make an appearance, too. Plenty to keep a reader busy, from here to the summer solstice and beyond. - By John Timpane and Michael D. Schaffer, Inquirer staff writers Butterflies, the Bible, passionate fiction - the books of spring Fiction The River Swimmer: Novellas by Jim Harrison (Grove, $25, Jan. 8)