インターネット版「アサギマダラ・ニュース」 インターネット版「アサギマダラ・ニュース」

The Chestnut Tiger Newsletter No.50


The Chestnut Tiger's Migration Research Group

          c/o H. Fukuda 4-5-32 Meiwa, Kagoshima, 890 Japan
Tel/Fax:81-99-***-****, E-mail:tefutefu@po.synapse.or.jp Issued September 22, 1997 (アサギマダラ・ニュース第50号記念号)

A Letter to the People of East Asia:
Let us mark and release Chestnut Tiger (Parantica sita) butterflies!

Fig. Confrmed case of travel within the Japanese Archipelago (1981-1996), and an example of a marked butterfly illustrated.
 The mapped records iadicate records of northward migration are still very few.

 Please excuse for sending something like this without any previous notice. This is nothing but a request for a minute international cooperation in quest for migration of a butterfly species.

 You may already know that from East Asia(the eastern part of the Asian continet--the Mainland China, the Indochinese Peninsula, Taiwan , and the Philippines) every year many butterflies fly over on airflows to Japan. We call them migrant or visiting butterflies. Their sopt and speckle patterns the wings and the direction of airflows, when examined closely, suggest their "ports of embarkation" are most likely to be somewhere in East Asia south or southwest of Japan. This may be confirmed by marking and releasing of butterflies in the respective regions. The species likely to be the most interesting for this attempt with some promisiong results form our study so far is the Chestnut Tiger (Parantica sita).

 The Chestnut Tiger (Parantica sita) is also a resident species in Japan, as it breeds there as well. However, while many other migrant or visiting butterflies to Japan are so to speak one-way ticket travellers, the spring genreration of the Chestnut Tiger travels north and the autumn generation travels south. In other words, this species, taking several generations, repeats long distance shuttle migration trips every year. These have become clear with mark-and-release attempts continued since 1980 in Japan. At the same time, the results have revealed many questions remain insoluble without cooperation of people living outside Japan in East Asia. Although a few preliminary investigations have been attempted also outside Japan, the information obtained so far is still far from being satisfactory. As readily especeted, local residents in each region would be more likely to succeed in achieving substantial results.

 Therefore, I came upon the idea of using this newsletter. I hope this letter reachies and interests as many people as possible in East Asia. However, for the time being, the text is available only in Japanese and English; which must be inconvenient for many people. If you get interested, please translate it into your own language and circulate the translation among your friends (and send a copy to us at the address above). At this moment I can only hope and beg for interest and king cooperation.

The facts revealed so far and new questions to be answered in the future

 The Chestnut Tiger moves northwards around April--June on the seasonal southwesterly wind. The new generation born around June--August in highlands or high lalitudes travels southwards around September--November, taking advantage of the seasonal northerly wind flow. The female lays eggs there in the south. This species overwinters mostly in the laraval stage, and new adeults emerge in the spring. This is their anuual cycle of life history. The confirmed migration range is at present confined within the Japanese Islands (see Figure). However, as one of the probable "ports of embakation" of the vernal nothward migration and also as one of the "ports of disembarkation" of the autumnal southward migration, Taiwan and the continent, in parlicular, are nobable. Furthermore, up to where they move north in East Asia and their migration along the continent are interesting, but not yet unsolved issue.
 I made preliminary surveys along the coastline in northern Taiwan (Chinshan--shihmen, Yangmingshan) in the early June in 1994, and along the coastline in eastern Taiwan (Hualien, Juisui, Tachiangkou, and Kuangfu) in the early December in the same year. However, in both regions my survey periods seem to have been too late, and I obtained only some hints for future research. The following are points to be noted in mark-and-release of the Chestnet Tiger butterfly.

The mark-and-release method

 Mark signs and/or numbers on the wings with felt pen using oil-based ink, and then simply release the butterfly. For easy rediscovery of the marked butterfly even after considerable wear, marking on upper part of both left and right hindwings would be better (see Figure). For the signs and numbers to be marked, although there are no special rules, it is highly recommended that some hint for the site of release is included for the convenience of the recapture (e.g., "Taipei," "TAIWAN," "TAI," etc. to be included in the case of Taiwan). A record from file used in Japan lists; "sigh/symbol, number, date, place, sex, degree of wear, forewing length, ecology and other notes, etc." for each marked and released butterfly. in short, it suffices if the minimun information is retracable later with regard to when, where, and who marked and released the buttefly.

 In the spring, release of butterflies would be desirable in the northern or eastern part in March-April. In lowlands the flower of Gynura bicolor (Compositae) planted as vegetables in human residential areas is one of the adult Chestnut Tiger's favorite, and attracts many which happen to pass nearby. This plant may be planted in school flower beds to check the passage of adult butterflies. In the case of Taiwan, this species may move in May-June up to the highlands such as Yangmingshan.

 If marked and released in many places in East Asia, the realities of the migration will be grasped much better. If any attempt of mark-and-release of butterflies is made, it is desirable that someone gathers the information in eaeh region or country; also a report to our Research Group would be much appreciated so that we can call attention in Japan.
 In the autumn, please pay attention to search for marked butterflies from Japan. The release season in Japan is August--October. Therefore, recapture outside Japan is expected the season thereafter. Hopeful sites of recapture are everywhere along the eastern or northern coast, whether continental or insular, and possibly some may be recaptured even somewhere inland. Autumn−flowering thistles Ageratum spp. (Compositae)and so on, which provide adults with nectar, and larval foodplant vines (Cynanchum liukiuence, Tylophora japonica, Hoya carnosa, Gymnema alteniforum, Marsdenia tinctoria, etc.; Asclepiadaceae) should be searched with a special attention.

 In April-June in Japan, Parantica melaneus swinhoei is occasionally found together with the Chestnut Tiger (Parantica sita). Also numerous Tirumala limniace and a small number of closely related species fly over as well. Therefore, marking and releasing of these butterfly species also might give unexpectedly interesting results.

 These days in Japan not only butterfly researchers and enthusiasts but also ordinary ladies, children, and retired people incresingly participate in the butterfly mark-and−release excursions; which is the new driving force to gain more information about the secret of nature. At the time of release, recapture seems to be only a dreamlike possibility. However, in reality the possibility has been proven to be better than a mere dream. Nay, even if it remains a dream, that is fine.

 I hope dream-chasers like us will increase in East Asia.

              Haruo FUKUDA (4-5-32 Meiwa, Kagoshima, 890 JAPAN)

              福田 晴夫 (〒890 鹿児島市明和4−5−32)
             Tel & Fax: 099-***-**** E−Mail:tefutefu@po.synapse.or.jp

(Translated from the Japanese by H. Takasaki at Okayama University of Science, Japan, using his translation assisting software package "Trex")

             ★ 原典は「アサギマダラ・ニュース」No.46(1997.2.22発行)

HARUO FUKUDA(Meiwa 4−5−32, Kagoshima, 980, JAPAN)



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