Mariton: 29th Butterfly Census

July 2, 2019

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager.  Photos by Carole Mebus.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

The Mariton Butterfly Census netted 20 species of butterflies. That is above average.(The most we have ever counted on a census is 26 species.)

Great Spangled Fritillary

Unfortunately, we only saw 77 butterflies total. That is about half of what is average.  The last three years have had the lowest counts since the early 1990s.  Even though we saw 27 Great-spangled Fritillaries on the census we have seen as many as one hundred in the past.  There is a lot of variability in numbers when you scan across the spread sheet, still it just seems that we are seeing less butterflies.  Since we are seeing species numbers rebounding, perhaps the individual numbers is a reflection of weather events and will begin rebounding in future years.  Mariton definitely provides abundant food for both larva and adults.

Coral Hairstreak on Butterfly Weed

There are usually a few butterflies that land on people. A Coral Hairstreak not only landed on Anne’s arm, but it perched there as she walked around the field.  While we got lots of photos of that, I decided to use this photo of a Coral Hairstreak.  The orange of the Butterfly Weed really highlights the orange on this small but beautiful butterfly.

A Hackberry Emperor. A butterfly that often lands on people.