Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 13, 2012 Butterfly Monitoring

We went out for our monthly Butterfly Monitoring in our Guana Dam transect (Transect A) on a warm sunny morning.  We have recently seen daily late afternoon downpours, and the rain has helped our groundcover plants along the marsh and lake to bloom.  The small butterflies like this habitat, and we saw many different species.  Dainty Sulphurs, (Nathalis iole) of the family Pieridae, were flying characteristically low to the ground.  A Least Skipper, (Ancyloxypha numitor) of the family Hesperiidae, was resting on a blade of grass.

Least Skipper

Dainty Sulphur

We compared the subtle differences between Tropical and Common Checkered Skippers - we observed both species along the marsh.  We also spotted Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus) Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaonPalamedes Swallowtail, (Papilio palamedes), Horace's Duskywing (Erynnis horatius),Salt Marsh Skippers (Panoquina panoquin) on Sea Oxeye Daisy, and one Eastern Pygmy Blue(Brephidium pseudofea) - the smallest butterfly.

A Southern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia otho) was spotted in the blooming frog fruit Frog fruit also called fog fruit Phyla nodiflorawas) also known as Carpetweed.
Southern broken-dash

Cloudless Sulphur

The Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) butterfly is commonly seen through spring and summer, and today was no exception; they were flying near the tree line at the edge of the lake. The Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus) of the Hesperiidae family is spotted at this time of year and was seen several times, resting on the leaves of wax myrtle.
We always notice other creatures as we search for butterflies; a Six-lined Racerunner lizard (Cnemidophorus sexlineatus) slithered by.

Long-tailed Skipper

Due to flooding of the GTM NERR upland hammock trails,  the team in the ATV was not able to traverse sections that we use to reach our transects C and D. We attempted to reschedule each week.  As of August 27, significant sections of these trails are still flooded.