NABOKV-L post 0023238, Wed, 8 Aug 2012 20:04:46 -0700

lepitoperological miracle?
Dear Dr Johnson,

You remind me that I actually have an interesting lepidopterological
question to ask. Years ago I found a Monarch caterpillar on some
milkweed and brought him home. I put him on a potted parsley plant and
draped him with gauze to protect him from birds and he proceeded like
Topsy to grow and grow.

I was fortunatley at home when he began to construct his cocoon and I
watched the process with fascination. When he had completely entered
the pupal stage (and what a gorgeous pupa he was, diaphanous green
with raised black and gold dots) I did the unforgiveable - I
accidentally jostled the pot. My little pupa shuddered violently and
lay still. I knew I had murdered him, and in fact when the proscribed
21 days of metamorphosis had passed, he remained a little mummy.

I mourned him and put him in a tiny box that jewelers give you and
left him where I could admire him from time to time. One day I came
home to find a marvelous black and yellow (and blue too?) striped
butterfly plastered against a window - how did that get into the
house? I looked at the little box, which thank fortune I had left open
that day, and the shattered case told the tale.

It was the anniversary of the day my little sweetheart should have
emerged the year before. What do you make of that? I will swear on
anything you like that this is not fabricated or embroidered in the

On Aug 8, 2012, at 1:33 PM, Kurt Johnson wrote:

Just a note that the Spring 2012 Issue of The News of the
Lepidopterists Society had a delayed tribute to Dr. John C. Downey,
who transitioned in 2005. It points out his role as a central
character in the Nabokov saga. Downey was one of the pioneer
scientists of Blues and had some fascinating contacts/ run-in's with
Nabokov that have been recorded in both Boyd and Pyle and Johnson and
Coates. The tribute points out that Downey was a major professor and
influence on both Kurt Johnson and Naomi Pierce who went on not only
to be major systematists of the Lycaenidae (and Blues in particular)
but also turned out to further explore, unravel and chronicle the
Nabokov lepidoptery saga. This was capped of course with the co-
authored paper of 11 persons working with Naomi Pierce that used DNA
analysis to confirm Nabokov's biogeographic hypotheses (published in
2011). Many of these persons are participating in the current ongoing
work by Steve Blackwell and Kurt Johnson for another major volume on
Nabokov's science and art.

So, I wanted people to know about the tribute article to John C. Downey.

Dr. Kurt Johnson

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