S. Texas Week 42

Adventurous outings with great friends helped make this a memorable week.  Tommie Rogers (Chattanooga), Buck and Linda Cooper (Florida), Mike and Ginny Rickard (Mission), Marianna Trevino Wright (Mission), and Betty Perez (La Joya) joined me on various trips east to Brownsville and west to Rio Grande City.  A few of my favorite butterflies from several sites:  Curve-winged metalmarks on Rio Rico Rd; Lantana scrub-hairstreak at NABA; Giant swallowtail at the Perez Ranch; Pale-rayed skippers on Boca Chica Rd; Mimosa skippers at Santa Ana NWR; Orange-barred sulphur at Resaca de la Palma; Sickle-winged skippers everywhere!

Three new Big Year species - Hecebolus skipperPurple-washed skipper, and Evan’s skipper - all nectared on crucita in the same garden (NABA center) on the same morning.  Interestingly, these species are also congeneric, and, with the more common Ocola skipper, gave me a Panoquina grand slam for the day!

Just ten days until the National Butterfly Festival, and the NABA center in Mission, Texas is still waiting for its typical annual fall butterfly invasion.  Numbers of species in many groups - sulphurs, hairstreaks, crescents, even snouts - remain low.  Between occasional storms, the weather’s been quite hot, so maybe a cold front or a stiff wind out of the southwest is all that’s needed?  

Note that Total Big Year species (below) now shows my total species count as would be recognized by different authorities: JP = Jonathan Pelham; OW = Opler/Warren (similar to that used by the Brock/Kaufmann Field Guide); JG = Jeffrey Glassberg.  So the Opler/Warren taxonomy gives me the most species (503), while the Jeffrey Glassberg (NABA) taxonomy gives me the fewest (480).  In his 2008 Big Year, Bob Pyle followed the Jonathan Pelham taxonomy; that approach gives me 498 species.

New Species:  Hecebolus Skipper Panoquina hecebolus, Purple-washed Skipper Panoquina lucas, Evans’ Skipper Panoquina evansi

New Species:  3    

Total Big Year species:   498 (JP)   503 (OW)   480 (JG)   505 (all sources)              

Species Photographed:  493

Panoquina evansi2

Evan’s skipper, National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Panoquina lucas

Purple-washed skipper, National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Flag-tailed spiny-leg eating Large Orange sulphur2

Large orange sulphur, in the grasp of a Flag-tailed spiny-leg, NABA Center, Mission, TX

Astraptes fulgerator2

Two-barred flasher, National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

© Chris Tenney 2014