- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The COVID-19 pandemic precautions and/or lockdown may interfere with it.
"As of now, no," says contest sponsor Art Shapiro, UC Davis distinguished professor of evolution and ecology, who launched the competition in 1972.
Remember the contest?
For scientific purposes, the UC Davis professor seeks to determine the cabbage white butterfly's first flight of the year in the three-county area of Sacramento, Solano and Yolo.
The traditional rules: Catch a live cabbage white butterfly, Pieris rapae, in the wild in one of those three counties, deliver it live to his department office, 2320 Storer Hall, UC Davis (during work hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the full data, exact time, date and location of the capture) and if it's the first of the year, you win a pitcher of beer or its equivalent.
Shapiro, who maintains a research website at http://butterfly.ucdavis.
The butterfly inhabits vacant lots, fields and gardens where its host plants, weedy mustards, grow. The male is white. The female is often slightly buffy; the "underside of the hindwing and apex of the forewing may be distinctly yellow and normally have a gray cast,” Shapiro says. “The black dots and apical spot on the upperside tend to be faint or even to disappear really early in the season.”
Shapiro or his graduate students have often won the contest.
Shapiro has monitored butterfly population trends on a transect across central California since 1972 and records the information on his research website at http://butterfly.ucdavis.edu/.
Shapiro, a member of the UC Davis faculty since 1971 and author of the book, Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento Valley Regions, has studied more than 160 species of butterflies in his transect.
So suds for a bug in 2022? Well, maybe you can welcome in the New Year with suds...without a bug...