S. Texas Week 41

Oh yeah!!  No. 500 for the year was . . .  Lantana scrub-hairstreak (photo 2), nectaring in the NABA butterfly garden . . . or was it?  

Here’s the deal: my actual species count depends on which published taxonomy I use - in my case, the species that are recognized by that taxonomy.  In Bob Pyle’s words, “the situation is dynamic.”  At the species level, authorities disagree on species splits/lumps.  In his 2008 Big Year, Bob followed Jonathon Pelham’s Catalogue (2006), currently used by most working lepidopterists.  Recreational butterflyers can choose from a number of field guides, two of the more recent authored by Jeffrey Glassberg (2012) and by Jim Brock/Kenn Kaufman (2003).  Before my current Big Year, I compiled a U.S. species checklist from all these sources, choosing to maximize possible species.  My final species list will reflect the differing views of my sources.

Leading up to No. 500, Pale-rayed skippers chased and courted (photo 3) in the desert-like scrublands along Boca Chica Rd. near the Texas coast.  Also at the NABA garden in Mission, a late-in-the-day Silver emperor (photo 1), first found by Mike Rickard, graced the front garden; the previous day a Violet-banded skipper nectared on crucita just behind the visitor center.  A Glazed pellicia at Resaca de la Palma and a Pale-banded crescent at the Edinburg wetlands rounded out my week.

New Species:  Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak Strymon bazochii, Pale-banded Crescent Anthanassa tulcis, Silver Emperor Doxocopa laure, Glazed Pellicia Pellicia arina, Pale-rayed Skipper Vidius perigenes, Violet-banded Skipper Nyctelius nyctelius

New Species:  6    Total trip species:  501   Species Photographed:  488

Doxocopa laure2

Silver emperor, National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Strymon bazochii

Lantana scrub-hairstreak, National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Vidius perigenes2

Pale-rayed skippers courting, Boca Chica Rd., Brownsville, TX

Chiomara georgina

White-patched skipper, National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

© Chris Tenney 2014