On July 13, the Plant Materials Center (PMC) hosted an Annual North American Butterfly Association (NABA) butterfly count.
This was the second year for the event, which centered at the Elsberry PMC and straddled the Mississippi River, to include part of Illinois. There were eight participants that included members of the public and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The count area included public land areas such as the Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge, BK Leach Memorial Conservation Area.
In three hours’ time volunteers counted two pipevine swallowtails, one black swallowtail, 15 tiger swallowtails, one cabbage white, six clouded sulfurs, one orange sulfur, 22 cloudless sulfurs, two Bronze Coppers, two gray hairstreaks, seven Eastern-tailed blues, four summer azures, two Variegated Fritillarys, three Silvery Checkerspots, seven pearl crescents, one common buckeye, two Viceroys , two hackberry emperors and two Monarch butterflies.
The butterfly count is a citizen scientist survey where volunteers around North American conduct a one-day census of all of the butterflies observed in a count circle 15 miles in diameter.
The count program is intended to promote interest in butterflies and provide for scientific monitoring of this fascinating group of insects. Comparisons of the results through the years show changes in butterfly populations and can reveal the effects of weather and habitat on the different butterfly species.
For more information on the NABA or the count program, consult NABA’s website at http://naba.org. For more information about the results of the survey contact the PMC at 573-898-2012.
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