Tag Archive: insect

Feb 23 2016

Poweshiek Skipperling

Have fun solving the skipperling maze!

Have fun solving the skipperling maze!

The Poweshiek Skipperling range once stretched along the northern prairies from the Dakotas through Manitoba to the southern part of Michigan’s lower peninsula. The prairies are greatly reduced in size from their original status – there is less than 1 percent of viable prairie land left. What does remain is often separated by developed land or is itself of degraded quality. These conditions make it hard for the Poweshiek Skipperling and other species to survive.

This species helps to illustrate how fire management is not a one size fits all solution. Wildlife experts use fire to discourage non-native woody plants and cool season grasses; however, the skipperling larvae are destroyed by fire. Therefore controlled and infrequent burns are better than large scale burns.

The skipperling caterpillar changes into a butterfly between June and August. The adults generally choose the slender spike rush as the host plant where females lay eggs singly. These eggs hatch by late summer and the larvae develop through early fall. Caterpillars hibernate through the winter and continue developing the following spring.

Original artwork is copyright 2014 by Rob Hughes.  Drawn with india ink on 9″ x 12″ Bristol white vellum surface paper.  Made in Michigan with quality materials.

Download the Poweshiek Skipperling maze here!

Here is the solution for the Poweshiek Skipperling maze.

Permanent link to this article: http://heretoamaze.com/2016/02/23/poweshiek-skipperling/

Jan 19 2016

Karner Blue Butterfly

Endangered fire dependent creature.

Endangered fire dependent creature.

Try to solve the Karner Blue Butterfly maze.

For much of the 20th century forest management techniques overlooked the need various species (such as the Karner Blue Butterfly) have on fire to ensure their survival.  An area cleared by fire (or by mowing near large buildings or along power line corridors) creates a habitat suitable for various creatures to survive.  The endangered Karner Blue Butterfly depends on a plant, the Wild Blue Lupine, that only grows in open sandy areas in pine and oak savannas.  Without the leaves of this plant for sustenance the butterfly’s larvae die.  For the Karner Blue to thrive there must be dense stands of Wild Blue Lupine.  Wildfires once ensured blankets of Wild Blue Lupine would sprout up in burned out areas.

Pine and oak forests stretch far to the south, but the Karner Blue Butterfly only occurs in the northern parts of these forests – from New York to Minnesota.  Michigan is one of the strongholds for the Karner Blue Butterfly, and in northern Michigan they can be found in the Huron-Munistee National Forest.  In cold climates with adequate snowfall the eggs survive the winter.  The snow protects them from dehydration and freezing.  In warmer climates the eggs either freeze or dry out and cannot hatch in the spring.  The butterfly can be found as far south as Ohio and Indiana.

Original artwork is copyright 2014 by Rob Hughes.  Drawn with india ink on 9″ x 12″ Bristol white vellum surface paper.  Made in Michigan with quality materials.

Download the Karner Blue Butterfly here.

Here is the solution for the Karner Blue Butterfly maze.

Permanent link to this article: http://heretoamaze.com/2016/01/19/karner-blue-butterfly/

Apr 06 2014

The Mitchell’s Satyr Butterfly Maze

Mitchell's Satyr Butterfly Maze!

Mitchell’s Satyr Butterfly Maze!

Mitchell’s Satyr Butterfly

          The Mitchell’s Satyr Butterfly is one of the world’s rarest butterflies.  Named after professor J. N. Mitchell from the University of Michigan, by G. H. French, in 1889.  This butterfly depends on swampy wetlands with just the right PH level for the plants it relies on to grow.  These wetlands, called fens, were never very numerous and with the advent of modern civilization are under constant threat of development.  In addition to the direct destruction of the ecosystems the butterfly needs for survival, it faces indirect threats.  In some instances the water flow is altered enough that the fen loses it’s delicate PH balance, eliminating the sedges the butterfly depends on for survival.  In other cases, there may be a decrease in the native foliage the butterfly eats as they are replaced by non-native species.

          The Mitchell’s Satyr Butterfly starts life in the summer when a female butterfly lays eggs onto a leaf or other bit of swampy matter.  Those eggs hatch, and the emerging caterpillar goes through 3 molts before the winter sets in.  At that time, this amazing creature goes into a hibernation period under the snow.  When spring returns, the caterpillar goes through two more molts to finally emerge as a Mitchell’s Satyr Butterfly.  In this, it’s final form it has just 3 short weeks to find a mate, reproduce and lay eggs before it dies.  It is a small butterfly with a wingspan of about an inch.  It lives its entire life in only a small portion of the fen where it was born.

          The butterfly is found in the lower fifty miles or so of Michigan, along the Michigan border from the Toledo Ohio area west to lake Michigan.  In this area there are only 13 fens that meet the butterfly’s needs.  It is also found in a couple of localities in Indiana.  At one time, this butterfly lived in parts of Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Ohio; and also locations no longer suitable in Michigan and Indiana.  Recent populations discovered in Virginia, Mississippi and Alabama await DNA testing to see if they are truly Mitchell’s Satyr Butterflies, or another sub-species that looks very much like the Mitchell’s Satyr Butterfly.

Original artwork is copyright 2014 by Rob Hughes.  Drawn with india ink on 9″ x 12″ Bristol white vellum surface paper.  Made in Michigan.  Built to last.

This design is available as a greeting card. 

Download a PDF of the Mitchell’s Satyr Butterfly Maze here!

Here is the solution to the Mitchell’s Satyr Butterfly maze.

Resources (link takes you to the referenced article):

Biokids University of Michigan

United States Fish and Wildlife Services

United States Environmental Protection Agency

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Wikipedia

University of Michigan Animal Diversity for Kids

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The Xerces Society

Encyclopedia of Life 

Michigan State University

Pizza, Beer and Science

Permanent link to this article: http://heretoamaze.com/2014/04/06/the-mitchells-satyr-butterfly-maze/

Dec 02 2013

Roses and Butterfly Silhouette Maze

Roses MazeI’m a poet at heart, so here is a haiku to go along with the silhouette maze.

After All

Butterflies, Roses;
It was like a black and white
movie, my life then.

Though the haiku was inspired by the maze, I think it is better on it’s own.  So, don’t think of the maze when you re-read the haiku.

Original artwork drawn by Rob Hughes on 11″ x 14″ Strathmore acid free paper with a mix of archival and non-archival inks.

Download a PDF of the Roses maze here!

Here is the solution to the roses silhouette maze.

This design is also available as a greeting card.  You can buy it here!

Permanent link to this article: http://heretoamaze.com/2013/12/02/roses-and-butterfly-silhouette-maze/