Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk about butterflies to several groups of kids in the Maupin, OR school district. It was a long day and my voice was a bit hoarse by the end of it, but it was a wonderful time and I was very impressed with all the kids. I don't think I've encountered so many observant and interested kids before, a few really stood out to me with the things they picked up on, and I was particularly impressed with the high school group. It was a great experience and I hope to have more opportunities like this in the future!
Many of you took my business card with my email address, so I hope to hear from you if you have any questions - I tried to answer as many as I could, but simply didn't have time to listen to everyone, so many wonderfully curious kids! You also may comment on any of my blog posts here - I moderate the comments to eliminate spam, so keep in mind that when you submit a comment it won't show up right away, usually I'll see and "okay" it within a couple hours.
Several of you had questions about how I preserve the specimens, and some asked why I kill some of the ones I raise, instead of letting them go. There are links on the left side of this page (Rearing Lepidoptera, Collecting Lepidoptera, Mounting Specimens, and others) where I have written answers to these questions, and there is information there about how to spread butterfly wings to preserve them for a collection, along with general guidelines about ethical collecting practices. There is also a list of books and other resources I recommend. In particular, The Butterflies of Cascadia by Robert M. Pyle is the best (at least my favorite) guide book to Washington and Oregon butterflies, although some of the scientific names have changed in recent years, and some new species have been described. Life Histories of Cascadia Butterflies by David James and David Nunnallee is a newer book with the updated names, and is the first book to ever show all the egg-larva-pupa stages of our local butterflies. It does not have as many photos of adult butterflies, so you will need to use other books and websites to help with the identification of some species, but there is a lot of information in that book about what plants each butterfly uses and what the caterpillars look like.
Also, following up on the two butterflies the kids found (Kindergarten class brought a dead Anise Swallowtail and the High School class brought a dead Indra Swallowtail), here are two blog posts I wrote a while back that talk about these two swallowtails and the similar Oregon Swallowtail:
Indra & Anise swallowtails