Neotropical Butterflies

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 Post subject: Attracting Skippers with Salt Water
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:04 pm 
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Posts: 1163
Hola Amigos of Skippers: I know I have mentioned the following to some of you but I thought Id put this out to all of you that might be interested. Back in the 90's someone came up with the idea that if one put spit on a piece of kleenex it was one way to attract butterflies, especially skippers. Seems that butterflies are attracted to bird droppings and the kleenex suggests this. This does not work out in the open but rather in the jungle areas where for the most part there isnt direct sunlight. I tried this and found it worked fine except these spit wads would dry out too fast and soon I became spit-less. (You dont want to be spit-less in the jungle). It was about three or four years ago that I came up with the idea of using water with salt in it. I still had to go back and refresh the wads but not as often and I could be generious with the 'food"( there's some sort of chemical in the salt that bugs like). Seems that other creatures like the stuff,too...Especially ants (a variety of sizes). They can be a nuisance but a good majority of "food plates" remain available for butterflies. The kleenex (or TP,etc) is biodegradable and a good many types of ants will haul the paper off.
I started using a small spray bottle; now Ive gone to a larger size so I can spray a fair distance. I dont have any recipe for the amount of salt; use your good judgement.
You will be surprised as to how many skippers are attracted to this stuff. Give it a try; you do have to spend a fair amount of time in one area..it takes time for the bugs to find it. Good luck. Saludos Ricardo


 
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 Post subject: Re: Attracting Skippers with Salt Water
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:42 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:18 am
Posts: 186
Location: England
Hola Ricardo

That's good advice, but being a purist I like to photograph butterflies on natural substrates. How about a formula for some sort of white paste or goo which could be painted onto leaves, and would more closely simulate a bird dropping ? I suppose we could go around collecting bird droppings, mix it with salty water in a small jar, and paint false bird droppings all over the forest !

Maybe someone could provide a formula for a paste to attract species from other families as well ? I've tried rotting plantains and bananas and sometimes they work well ( for Brassolines and Prepona etc ) but often it fails to attract anything. Fish bait only seems to work at certain sites, and is so revolting to smell that you can't stay near it long enough to photo the butterflies ! Any ideas ?

Saludos
Adrian
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 Post subject: Re: Attracting Skippers with Salt Water
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:29 pm 
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Hola Adrian: You are a purist..and I admire you for being that. There never seems to be enough actual bird droppings worth gathering up. Horse and other animal droppings work,too. Dont know if Id want to gather up those things. Also, while on a similar subject, urine attracts butterflies,too, and have taken some good shots of skippers on that liquid. There might be a way to develope a paste of some type that would look more like bird droppings..Ill let you research that. Saludos Ricardo
PS On a trip last September to the Amazon out of Iquitos we photographed about 100 species of skippers, mostly on spit wads.
PPS The most bird droppings I have seen at any one time occured when army ants marched thru the woods, flushing up various insects which attracted birds.


 
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 Post subject: Re: Attracting Skippers with Salt Water
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:35 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:18 am
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Location: England
Hola Ricardo

Yes I know about the urine trick - I usually carry a bottle of it and tip it out on the sand ! I even know someone, a butterfly video photographer, who went so far as to persuade all the visitors to a rainforest lodge in Tambopata to urinate in a communal bucket. He then poured the whole lot on a sandbank and it attracted hundreds of Protesilaus and Protographium species, making for some amazing video footage !

Saludos
Adrian
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 Post subject: Re: Attracting Skippers with Salt Water
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:58 pm
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Hi, I made a mix of calcium carbonate and fish meal (for me it is easy to get them bacause I work in a Feed plant and they are common ingredientes). The Calcium carbonate is white and the fish meal is brown, so I put first in a leave the white and then a little bit of the brown and add a drop of salty water. With a stick I mix a little and it really looks like bird dropings It works.
The egg shell is made out of calcium carbonate so if you can grind it very fine it will do it.
The next thing I will try is going to a layers house and take some real droping and dry it and keep it in a jar to use it later.
The problem when you use paper is that the photo doesnt look natural.
Saludos, JG


 
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 Post subject: Re: Attracting Skippers with Salt Water
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:18 am
Posts: 186
Location: England
Thanks Juan

I'll give it a try the next time I'm in Peru !

All the best
Adrian


 
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 Post subject: Re: Attracting Skippers with Salt Water
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:20 pm 
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Hola Juan: You are a purist,too! Interesting concoction. I may try it next time Im in the jungle although its too easy to use salt water and Im not a purist. Im most interested in getting new skippers and IDing them and so I dont worry about the background. Im not planning to use photos for anything that will be published. Saludos Ricardo


 
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 Post subject: Re: Attracting Skippers with Salt Water
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 7:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:30 am
Posts: 82
Hello everybody,

To attract frugivorous, I have quite successfully used a mixture of mashed banana, brown sugar (serves sugarcane or molasses) and dark beer. Let ferment in a closed container for two or three days to be with strong smell. In forest that attracts everything frugivorous species.

Good shots!

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Roberto Rezende

Borboletas da Tríplice Fronteira
Butterflies of the Triple Frontier
Mariposas de la Triple Frontera


 
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 Post subject: Re: Attracting Skippers with Salt Water
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 7:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:30 am
Posts: 82
Below is a photograph showing the appearance of the banana baits. On this day in the woods she quickly drew these three specimens of Opsiphanes quiteria:
Attachment:
DSC03833+.JPG
DSC03833+.JPG [ 248.4 KB | Viewed 2559 times ]

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Roberto Rezende

Borboletas da Tríplice Fronteira
Butterflies of the Triple Frontier
Mariposas de la Triple Frontera


 
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