In the News

Dr. Shapiro has been in the news on a number of occasions. This page points to some of these sources and also includes an RSS feed on the bottom so that one can stay informed of other news events. Please click the orange box at the bottom, then cut and paste the URL into your RSS feed program (such as Google Reader).

Drought is not a dirty word to declining butterflies in Yolo!

This story was originally published as the Tuleyome Tales column on Sunday, May 6, 2007, in The Davis Enterprise

Butterflies in our part of California have had some tough times lately.

Most people say there aren’t as many butterflies now as there were when they were kids. Because I’ve been monitoring butterflies on a biweekly basis at up to 10 sites in this part of California since 1972, I was in a position to say whether or not that was true. And by and large, it wasn’t. I used to argue that butterflies are just more conspicuous to kids than to adults, and it was all just a matter of perception. Until 1999, that is. In 1999 more than a dozen species in our area showed a sharp downturn. I began to sit up and take notice. Was something actually going on? In a word, yes.

Biggest butterfly net ever: Prof's 35-year study flutters about on Web

For 35 years, butterflies of the Sacramento Valley and the Sierra Nevada have been Arthur Shapiro's obsession.

Shapiro, a UC Davis professor of evolution and ecology, has visited the same 11 observation sites from Suisun Marsh to high mountain valleys since 1972 -- most of them every two weeks.

He has recorded more than 83,000 sightings of 159 species, representing every color of the rainbow. Along the way, new butterflies have come on the scene. Others apparently have blinked out.

Shapiro recorded all he saw. And it's all now available to the public in a massive database of regional butterfly activity that is rivaled by only one other resource worldwide.

Read more at:

Sierra butterflies spring from two other species, scientists say

Plucked from treeless slopes above Lake Tahoe, stored in UC Davis freezers and Fed-Exed to Texas, a batch of blue and black butterflies could help shed light on how new species are formed.

Genetic analysis shows that the still-unnamed alpine butterfly sprang from the crossing of two other species, according to an article published online Thursday by the journal Science.

That's a well-known way for new species of plants to emerge, but it's less well understood and less common in animals.

Read the entire Sacramento Bee article, by Carrie Peyton Dahlberg, at the link below:


Capital Public Radio: Art Shapiro on INSIGHT

Art Shapiro was on the radio station KXJZ (Capital Public Radio in Sacramento) on the program INSIGHT with Jeffrey Callison. During this 10 minute interview, Art talks about the decline in butterflies during this spring season (2006). Download and listen to the recording:

San Francisco Chronicle: Where have all the butterflies gone?

Last year, surprisingly large numbers of painted ladies migrated through Northern California -- this year, few have shown up

"Wild fluctuations in California's winter and spring weather have hurt fragile butterfly populations, causing numbers to fall to the lowest in more than three decades and increasing the concerns of scientists about long-term declines linked to climate change and habitat loss." Read article: San Francisco Chronicle - Where have all the butterflies gone?

Science Daily: Where have all the butterflies gone?

"Cold, wet conditions early in the year mean that 2006 is shaping up as the worst year for California's butterflies in almost four decades, according to Art Shapiro, professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis."

Read article: Science Daily - Where have all the butterflies gone?

Science Daily: Butterfly Migration Could Be Largest Known

"Millions of painted lady butterflies that fluttered into California's Central Valley in the last week of March could be just the advance guard of one of the largest migrations of the species on record, said Arthur Shapiro, a professor and expert on butterflies at UC Davis."

Read article: Science Daily - Butterfly Migration Could Be Largest Known

Christian Science Monitor: Open your eyes to butterflies

"From San Francisco to New York City, from the Canadian border to the southern tip of Argentina, Art Shapiro has traveled all across the Americas to study butterflies. But the winged wonders he knows best live right in his hometown of Davis in northern California. He's been chasing the insects since he was a kid."

Read article: Christian Science Monitor - Open your eyes to butterflies

UCDavis Dateline: Arthur Shapiro — Talking butterflies and politics

"Arthur Shapiro looks like he jumped out of a Woody Guthrie folk song. At first glance, few would guess that the grungy Shapiro was a professor in entomology, evolution and ecology, let alone one of the world’s foremost experts on butterflies."

Read article: UCDavis Dateline - Arthur Shapiro — Talking butterflies and politics

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