Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May 2016 Butterfly Monitoring

Barred Sulphur (Yellow) Male
Pipevine Swallowtail
Red-banded Hairstreak
Checkered Skipper (Male)
Carolina Satyr
Dun Skipper

The start of our monthly butterfly monitoring expedition on May 23 in Transect A was slightly delayed, due to a rare sighting of manatees in the Guana River estuary!  We then observed a total of 79 butterflies including a Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops), a Checkered White male (Pontia protodice), a mating pair of Horace's Duskywing butterflies, a Barred Sulphur (Eurema daira), and a Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor).  The volunteers on Transects B, C and D counted a total of 27 butterflies including the Carolina Satyr (Hermeuptychia sosybius), Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestries)a Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palmedes) and a Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)and the usual sightings of the Great Southern White (Ascia monuste) and Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae).

On May 16, 2016, a group from our GTM Research Reserve Butterfly Monitoring team met at the Matanzas Inlet beach parking lot for the semi-annual Fort Matanzas Butterfly Count.  We were joined by Kurt Foote, Ellen NcElafish and Carmen Carrion from the Fort Matanzas National Monument (U.S. National Park Service) and José Núñez from the Whitney Laboratory for Marine BioScience.
The walk covered Transect A/B (Beach Parking Lot/Boardwalk and ICW Parking Lot/Boardwalk), Transect C (Hammock Trails) and Transect D (Salt Marsh).  In Transect A/B we observed three Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes), twenty-four Little Yellow (Eurema lisa), five Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae), four Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon) thirty-three Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis zarucco), ten Great Southern White (Ascia monuste), one Zarucco Duskywing (Erynnis zarucco), one Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus) and one Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia)One Little Yellow was seen laying eggs on a Partridge Pea plant, and a Gulf Fritillary was laying eggs on a Passionflower Vine. In Transects C and D twenty-two Great Southern Whites were encountered as well as one Palamedes Swallowtail (Papilio palamedes).
Little Yellow
Zarucco Duskywing

Giant Swallowtail
Other wildlife identified: Bombus sp. (Bumble Bee), Halictus poeyi (Sweat Bee), & Megachilid sp. Nymph (immature) Eastern lubber grasshoppers; wasps & mosquitoes were also present.
One large adult, one sub adult and one juvenile Gopher Tortoise were cooperatively posing for photographs. Unidentified small brown lizards with sail fins were seen on the Hammock Trail.