A recent trip to a fish hatchery yielded an amazing variety and quantity of lepidopteron species. The numbers and diversity was amazing. This photo has a butterfly, damselfly and caterpillar in one shot. Yes, they are hard to find. That is one ploy for insect survival: being hard to find. But why such diversity? I saw 3 different species of larva on the same plant! Could it be a chemical free environ? Fish are highly susceptible to toxins in run-off water, so a logical conclusion would be: fish hatcheries don’t use toxic chemicals.
The ultimate contrast would be the golf course we just visited on vacation. I noted only 2 Sulphurs on the entire “front nine,” but then again, who uses more chemicals on the lawns than a golf course? A rather noticeable contrast.
While I have never seen an ad to “Kill off those pesky Swallowtails or Buckeyes”, many powders and sprays make their living by annihilating larva of these and many other forms of insects. Toxins are rarely selective: witness DDT and the Bald Eagle. OOPS we slipped there didn’t we? Besides, by the time DDT was banned, 17 species of mosquitoes had become resistant to its chemical warfare, unfortunately eagles did not evolve quickly enough.
Perhaps more of us can learn the lesson of chemical-free gardening and plant diversity. Add a patch of habitat at home and enjoy the by-products of nature, instead of maintaining and defending the golf course green status quo.