Central Arizona Butterfly Association

Phoenix Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association.

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The Central Arizona Butterfly Association has a wonderful line-up of Meetings and Events for the upcoming year. Please check this page regularly for up-dates.

Upcoming events


6/6/2015      POSTPONED to June 6th!! Field trip: Colonel Devin Trail with Marceline VandeWater

On Saturday June 6th (originally May 16th), we will hike a part of the AZ/Highline trail in pursuit of colorful butterflies. As the temperature rises, the flowers start to bloom higher and higher in elevation. Butterflies follow this nectar flow “up the trail” and May is a great time to check it out. Nectar plants like Lemmon's Star, Kaibab Pussytoes, Canada Violets, Fleabane and Dandelion are blooming. Other species of butterflies like to mud puddle at one of the three seeps we will visit. Yet others, like California Sister and Satyr Comma, are mostly found perched on trees. Please wear sturdy shoes and a hat, bring water, snacks and a sacklunch. A pair of close focusing binoculars will be handy too. The trail is moderately steep in places, but we will take our time. Trip leader: Marceline VandeWater. Meeting place is Denny’s on Shea Blvd in Fountain Hills at 6:30am or at the trailhead at 8:15am. Details to get to the trailhead: Drive to Payson, go straight at the hwy 260 intersection. After 3/4 mile turn right onto Houston Mesa Road. Cross all 3 "water crossings", and after about 8 miles turn left at the stop sign. The road now turns into a dirt road. After about 1 miles turn right towards Shadow Rim Camp and Washington Park Trailhead. Follow this road up for about 5.5 miles until the right turn-off to the Washington Park Trailhead (marked). Turn right here, and instantly turn left (signs again) and you will find the trailhead well marked. Please contact Marceline VandeWater to let her know where you will meet: marceline@ermaroni.net We ask for a $5 donation per person. read more »

6/27/2015      NOTE DATE CHANGE!! Tour Butterfly Wonderland with Adriane Grimaldi

Spend the afternoon with fellow CAzBA members on this special guided group tour to America's largest butterfly conservatory on Saturday, June 27th (originally June 20th) from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Meet at Butterfly Wonderland, 9500 E. Via de Ventura, Scottsdale (Loop 101 and Via de Ventura). Wear bright colors and bring your camera. Admission will be waived!! Butterfly Wonderland focuses greatly on education and providing an over-all amazing experience with over 2,500 tropical butterflies, featuring 50 different species and 3 different species of moths flying around in a 10,000 square foot atrium. The first experience is a 14-minute specially edited version of the movie, "Flight of the Butterflies", which is an educational documentary of the Monarch Butterfly's migration patterns. Next, visit the Butterfly Emergence Gallery, where you can witness the butterflies emerging from their chrysalis. After visiting the tropical environment of the Butterfly Conservatory, visitors can explore the Bee and Ant and Desert Creatures Exhibit or pet the stingrays in the Stingray Touch Tank. There are also 8 aquariums with fresh water fish from the Amazon. The gift shop offers a variety of specialty items for that butterfly and nature enthusiast. Make sure to register for tour: email Adriane at adriane@butterflywonderland.com read more »

7/18/2015      Field trip - Flagstaff Area with Kurt Radamaker

We will explore part of Schultz Pass Road and meadows around the Snowbowl ski area, or maybe Locket Meadow on the north side of the San Francisco Peaks. Possibilities include: Northern and Mexican Cloudywings, Western Tiger Swallowtail, Queen Alexandra's Sulpur, 'Canyon' Bramble and Thicket Hairstreak, Western Pine Elfin, Zephyr and Hoary Comma, California Tortoisesshell, Pine Whte, and maybe Alberta Arctic. Meet at 6:30 at the Barnes and Nobles in the mall on Happy Valley Road just E of I-17. If people want to meet me in Flagstaff, they can contact me to make arrangements. Wear sturdy footwear. We will not be hiking long distances, but the footing can be poor and we will be at high elevations. As always, bring a wide-brimmed hat, water, and lunch. We are into the start of the monsoon season, so be prepared for this. If the clouds and rain come early, we may eat lunch in Flag. Contact Kurt Radamaker at kurtrad@mexicobirding.com to sign up. We ask for a $5 donation. read more »

8/22/2015      Moth Night

Join CAzBA for Moth Night. Details and place t.b.d. We'll have plenty opportunity to photograph and observe moths, lace-wings, arthropods, scorpions and more. Judging by our prior Moth Nights, you can expect an event that will be great fun for families, kids, entomologists and photographers - just about everyone who enjoys a little adventure outdoors and after dark. Please wear closed-toe shoes and bring a flashlight or headlamp. A $5 donation will be appreciated. read more »

9/12/2015      9th Annual Butterfly Count at Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Please consider joining us at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum on Saturday September 12th as we tackle our 9th Annual Butterfly Count. Counting starts at 8:30AM sharp, so arrive a little early. Meeting place: visitor center of Boyce Thompson Arboretum. The total count circle has a 15 mile diameter and we will conduct a one-day census of all butterflies sighted within that circle. Volunteer participants will be assigned to a leader and will be working a part of the count circle area. For lunch we will get together at Jade Grill restaurant in Superior (or you can bring your own lunch). Here we will exchange findings & information. 79 species of butterflies appear on the Arboretum's checklist, while the record for most species observed in a single day is 44 by Marceline VandeWater during the same count 5 years ago! Xami Hairstreak is one of specialties that has been found in the past at the BTA. The Arboretum is located on US 60, about 20 miles east of Apache Junction. Hope you can join us! read more »


Recent events

4/18/2015      Field trip: Rackensack Canyon with Janet Witzeman

Meet at 8:30 A.M. at the southeast corner of the junction of the Cave Creek Road and the road turning off to Bartlett Dam (about 8 miles East of Carefree). Bring a lunch, water, and close focus binoculars. On a butterfly trip to this area in the same month 3 years ago, we recorded 28 species of butterflies, including the amazing Yucca Giant-Skipper. We will also pay attention to the wildflowers, with checklist provided...Difficulty: moderate (no real trails, rocky creek bed). We ask for a $5 donation. read more »

3/21/2015      Field trip: Butterflies along the Beeline with Ron Rutowski

Spring starts early in the Upper Sonoran Desert. By March many wildflowers are in bloom and on warm days the spring butterflies – Orangetips, Marbles, Spring Azures, Variable Checkerspots, etc. - are out in force. This month the CAzBA field trip is to Round Valley in the Mazatzal Mountains, just at the upper elevational limit of the Sonoran Desert. Here, there is stream-side riparian vegetation, stands of mesquite on the flood plain, and hillsides dotted with cacti and annual wildflowers, all of which makes for a rich and accessible butterfly community. This area is about 50 miles from Phoenix where the Beeline highway crosses Sycamore Creek, right before the road climbs to Sunflower Valley. We will explore a side drainage of Sycamore Creek where Variable Checkerspots and Empress Leilia will be common. After that, we will drive up to Sunflower and walk on the "old" Beeline to the ranger station. At the ranger station, we will sit down at the picnic tables for lunch. Sagebrush Checkerspot and Zela Metalmark are some of the regulars there. Please gather at the Denny's on Shea Blvd. in Fountain Hills at 8:30AM. Wear sturdy shoes, bring water, snacks/lunch and close focus binoculars. We ask for a $5 donation. read more »

2/11/2015      Meeting with a presentation on dragonflies by Dr. Pierre Deviche.

Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday February 11, from 7 till 9pm at the Papago Buttes Church of the Brethren, 2450 N. 64th Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85257 (On the NW corner of Oak and 64th St. (This is about a mile north of the Desert Botanical Garden). There will be lemonade and fresh baked cookies:)! The guest speaker tonight will be Dr. Pierre Deviche, professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University. He will show you many of his incredible Dragonfly & Damselfly photographs, and talk about how we can make a significant contribution to the knowledge of this interesting order of insects. Abstract: Odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) are an ancient order of insects – approximately 200 million years older than butterflies – consisting of a relatively limited (~5,000 versus butterflies: ~20,000) number of extant species. Although odonates have been around for 250 million years, these carnivorous insects have remained rather homogenous and so are generally instantly recognizable. Yet they vary greatly in size, ranging from tiny damselflies to large tropical Pseudostigmatidae, as well as in coloration, habitat requirements, behavior, and other life history characteristics. Despite many detailed studies and increasing interest on the part of scientists and the public at large, many features of the biology of odonates remain poorly known. This talk will review the relatively well-known life characteristics of odonates but will emphasize areas where knowledge is lacking to which each of us can make a significant contribution. Feel free to bring a friend or two and don’t forget to check out the booktable with butterfly jewelry, books, beautiful t-shirts and art. read more »

1/16/2015      ASU SEMINAR: Monarch Butterfly Migration: From Behavior to Neurons to Genes. NOTE: THIS IS NOT A CAZBA ORGANIZED EVENT!

Place: Life Sciences Building, E Wing, Room 104 Title: Monarch Butterfly Migration: From Behavior to Neurons to Genes Speaker: Dr. Steven M. Reppert, Department of Neurobiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School Summary: Studies of the eye-popping migration of the eastern North American monarch butterfly have revealed mechanisms behind its orientation using a time-compensated sun compass. Skylight cues, such as the sun itself and polarized light, are processed through both eyes and integrated through complex circuitry in the brain’s central complex, the presumed site of the sun compass. Circadian clocks that reside in the antennae and have a distinct molecular mechanism provide time compensation. Recent evidence suggests that migrating monarchs can also use a magnetic compass for orientation in the absence of skylight cues. Genomic and genetic strategies have been developed to manipulate the monarch genome to access the genetic underpinning and evolutionary history of the migration. The monarch butterfly has emerged as a tractable system to study the neural and molecular basis of long-distance animal migration. read more »

1/10/2015      Annual Membership Meeting with guest speaker Dr. John Alcock.

The Annual Membership Meeting will be held on Saturday, January 10, from 2 till 4pm at the Papago Buttes Church of the Brethren, 2450 N. 64th Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85257 (On the NW corner of Oak and 64th St. (This is about a mile north of the Desert Botanical Garden). We will discuss the 2015 board challenges, have the treasurer go over the treasurer's report and talk about our plans for the upcoming year. There will be lemonade and fresh baked cookies:)! Our speaker for the 2015 Annual Membership Meeting will be Dr. John Alcock, Professor Emeritus, at Arizona State University. John has an extensive record of research on the mating systems of butterflies and other insects, especially those in which the males use a hilltop mate locating tactic. In his talk he will focus on the mating system of the California Patch butterfly which was exceptionally abundant this last season and so is very much on our minds. John's talks are always interesting, lively, and engaging so your attendance will be well rewarded! Feel free to bring a friend or two and don’t forget to check out the booktable with butterfly jewelry, books, beautiful shirts and art. read more »