He Did It!

Jan 20, 2009

He did it.


I knew he would


Hardly anyone can beat  University of California, Davis professor Arthur Shapiro in finding the first cabbage white butterfly of the year.


For the past 38 years, he's been hosting a "Beer-for-Butterfly" contest. If you're the first to find a cabbage white butterfly (from a three-county area: Yolo, Solano or Sacramento), you win a pitcher of beer. 


He won his own contest.


For that, he wins his own pitcher of beer. Bottoms up!


Shapiro immediately credited President Barack Obama for inspiring the early emergence of the cabbage white.


The professor found the butterfly, a male, at 12:57 p.m. on the south-facing embankment of the Old Davis Road interchange of Interstate Highway 80, adjacent to the University of California, Davis campus.


I figured he’d find it there. I spotted him walking along the embankment last week and thought "Ah, ha! There goes lepidopterist Art Shapiro searching for the first cabbage white of the year."


He earlier offered this hint: Most likely the cabbage white will be in a vacant lot or by a roadside where wild mustards grow.


The Pieris rapae is a white or buff-colored butterfly about 1-1/4 inches long. It spots a black spot or spots near its wing base. The underside of its hindwing is yellow with a grayish cast.


Shapiro said he couldn’t speculate on whether his butterfly was a Democrat or a Republican, but he said that “as a symbol of beauty and good cheer…if I were a butterfly I’d want to hatch on Inauguration Day! Wouldn’t you?”



By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

CABBAGE WHITE BUTTERFLY--This is a Pieris rapae similar to what UC Davis professor Art Shapiro found Jan. 20. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Cabbage White Butterfly