Field Research on Market Street
Thanks to funding from the Seedfund, Liam O’Brien and I will be collecting data this season about the Western Tiger Swallowtail’s (P. rutulus) habitat on Market Street, San Francisco. March 15th was our first day of observation, and we collected Yellow-faced Bumble Bee, Alfalfa Looper moth, Edward’s Bumble Bee, and Honey Bee specimens. We also noted an assortment of birds including White-crowned Sparrows, nesting House Finches, Robins, Crows, and House Sparrows.
At Sansome and Market, in a sun-drenched sunken plaza, a fountain surrounded by the Western Tiger Swallowtail’s larval food trees: Willow, Cherry, and London Plane. We saw our first butterfly of the season here, a freshly-emerged male bounding over the plaza wall. This fountain could be a great mud-puddling location for male butterflies seeking minerals for the production of spermataphores. We also noted a foraging honey bee seeking water in the fountain’s splash zone. Hone bees go to shallow water, fill their crops and ferry water back to the hive.
We encourage you to join us on our next day of field research to experience the financial district in an entirely new way – through the point of view of a butterfly!