Mariton: Butterfly Census

June 25, 2011

Butterfly count

Today we held the 21st Annual Butterfly Census.  We had good weather and six butterfly enthusiasts.  We ended the morning with 20 species and 147 individuals.

The most common butterfly was the Great-spangled Fritillary.  We counted 30 individuals.  While that is a big name, the butterfly is pretty spectacular when the sun catches the white spots underneath its wings.  This is an easy-to-learn and common butterfly at Mariton.  Its major food plant (what the caterpillars eat) are different violets.  Photo by Carole Mebus.

The next most common species was the Silver-spotted Skipper (29 individuals).  Another butterfly that is fairly easy to recognize.  The silver spot on its underwing is the giveaway.  Photo by Carole Mebus.

Another species, though not very common this morning was the Hackberry Emperor.  There are patches of Hackberry trees on the preserve, so we often see this beautiful butterfly.  This is a species that is often lands on people to gather salts from their skin.  Photo by Carole Mebus.