If you collect the first cabbage white butterfly of 2014 in the three-county area of Yolo, Solano or Sacramento, you'll collect a pitcher of beer or its cash-prize equivalent from Professor Shapiro of the UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology.
It's all part of Shapiro's 43-year study of climate and butterfly seasonality. He launched the annual contest in 1972 to draw attention to Pieris rapae and its first flight.
"It is typically one of the first butterflies to emerge in late winter," he says. "Since 1972, the first flight has varied from Jan. 1 to Feb. 22, averaging about Jan. 20." Shapiro, who usually wins his own contest, snagged the first cabbage white butterflies of 2013 on Jan. 20 and 21.
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