Central Arizona Butterfly Association

Phoenix Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association.

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News Articles

Check here regularly for current articles and news items related to Central Arizona Butterfly Association, conservation and nature. If you see an interesting article please let one of our board members know and we will post it here

4/15/2019      Field trip report: Rakensack Canyon by Marceline VandeWater

On Saturday April 13th, 13 butterfly friends plus Ron and I, explored Rackensack Canyon. The weather was sunny and the temperature perfect! There was a small stream of water flowing in Rackensack: what a difference with last year! Everything was lush and green, with plenty of flowers. Between all of us, we saw a total of 25 species: Pipevine Swallowtail (6), Two-tailed Swallowtail (4), Checkered White (25), Sara Orangetip (4), Sleepy Orange (2), Orange Sulphur (8), Dainty Sulphur (6), Reakirt’s Blue (2), “Martin’s” Blue (2), Variegated Fritillary (2), Elada Checkerspot (1), Variable Checkerspot (4), Sagebrush Checkerspot (1), Red Admiral (7), Painted Lady (10), Empress Leilia (2), Mourning Cloak (1), Common Buckeye (9), Tropical Buckeye (1), Queen (5), Monarch (1), Funereal Duskywing (3), Common Streaky-Skipper (2), White Checkered-Skipper (20), Orange Skipperling (1). I want to thank all participants for you good company and sharp eyes! Marceline read more »

3/27/2019      Field trip report: Butterflies along the Beeline Highway by Ron Rutowski

Twenty avid butterfliers led by Ron Rutowski and Marceline Vandewater visited two sites along the Beeline Highway on 23 March 2019. Round Valley was the first stop. Initially at 56 degrees, there was no activity, but more and more butterflies came out as the morning warmed up. At this location we saw 15 butterfly species. At the next stop in Upper Sunflower Valley we walked down the old Beeline Highway to have lunch at the Forest Service work camp. Along the way and at the camp we saw over 70 individual butterflies in 17 species. Our sunny but cool morning along the Beeline yielded a total of 24 species which is about average for this annual spring trip we’re doing since 2009. (2013 was a low year with 10 species, and 2011 & 2015 were high years with over 30 species observed). Here are the species and approximate numbers of each seen per location: Round Valley (15 species; more than 50 individuals) Pipevine Swallowtail 3, Checkered White 8, Pearl Marble 2, Orange Sulphur 1, Dainty Sulphur 4, Western Pygmy Blue 1, Spring Azure 1, American Snout 3, Red Admiral 1, Painted Lady 1, Variable Checkerspot 12, Empress Leilia 1, Queen 10, White Checkered Skipper 2, Funereal Duskywing 2 Upper Sunflower Valley (17 species; more than 70 individuals) Two-tailed Swallowtail 2, Pipevine Swallowtail 2, Checkered White 10, Sarah Orangetip 4, Mexican Yellow 1, Orange Sulphur 12, Dainty Sulphur 10, Western Pygmy Blue 1, “Siva” Juniper Hairstreak 2, Red Admiral 2, Painted Lady 1, Variegated Fritillary 1, Sagebrush Checkerspot 2, Mourning Cloak 1, Common Buckeye 1, Monarch 2, White Checkered Skipper 20 read more »

2/5/2019      First signs of border wall construction spotted at National Butterfly Center.

On Sunday February 3, the National Butterfly Center alerted that earlier that day, construction equipment and eight local law enforcement units materialized at the 100-acre sanctuary in Mission, Texas, along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last year, Congress approved funding to build new border-wall sections atop a levee that runs through the center, which protects habitat for hundreds of butterfly species as well as birds and other wildlife. An officer told center staff that “effective Monday morning, [the center’s land south of the levee] is all government land,” according to the post, suggesting that plans to construct the new wall sections continue. (These wall plans are separate from President Trump's larger proposed wall project that is still being negotiated.) read more »

2/5/2019      Western Monarch Call to Action!!

An iconic migration is on the verge of collapse—we must all do our part to save western monarchs! Once, millions of monarchs overwintered along the Pacific coast in California and Baja, Mexico—an estimated 4.5 million in the 1980s. But by the mid-2010s, the population had declined by about 97%, and in 2018, the decline was that much more dramatic. The annual Xerces Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count showed that the population hit a record low: Volunteers counted only 28,429 butterflies. This number is an 86% drop from the previous count done at Thanksgiving 2017, when 192,668 monarchs were counted at 263 sites (comparing only the sites monitored in both years)—and a dizzying 99.4% decline from the numbers present in the 1980s. read more »

7/31/2018      Butterfly expert Thomas Emmel has died.

The Florida Museum is shocked and saddened by the passing of Thomas Emmel, our colleague and friend, who died over the weekend, apparently from natural causes, while traveling in Brazil. Many of you have known Dr. Emmel for decades; others know him as a professor, mentor, researcher, travel guide, lepidopterist extraordinaire and as the initiator and founding director of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera & Biodiversity. Dr. Emmel’s death represents a personal loss for many, as well as a loss that will be felt across the scientific and avocational Lepidopterist communities. He will be sorely missed. Many of Dr. Emmel’s friends have asked about making a gift in his memory, and the Museum suggests gifts be directed to the Thomas C. Emmel Founding Director’s Endowment, which supports collections and research at the Florida Museum’s McGuire Center. Here is information on how to make a gift in his memory: https://www.uff.ufl.edu/give-now/?fund_id=019211 read more »

7/31/2018      Renowned monarch butterfly expert Dr. Lincoln Brower dies, but his legacy lives on!

The Sweet Briar community was saddened to learn of the death of Lincoln Brower, a world-renowned entomologist and research professor at the College. Brower died peacefully at his home in Nelson County on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, after an extended illness. Born in New Jersey on Sept. 10, 1931, he was well-known internationally for his research on the chemical and physiological ecology of monarch butterflies, and was an ardent conservationist on their behalf. He worked tirelessly to protect the monarch’s overwintering habitat in Mexico, raising awareness through his research reports and dozens of interviews with national and international media organizations. Here is the information on how to make a gift in his memory: Gifts: https://monarchconservation.org/grants/small-grants-program/ read more »

4/4/2018      Field trip report: Butterflies along the Beeline Highway by Ron Rutowski

About a dozen butterfliers travelled up the Beeline Highway on Saturday, March 24, in spite of anticipating very low numbers of butterflies due to the lack of rainfall this winter. The plants certainly showed the effects of the lack of rain with very few blooming annuals and little evidence of new leaves on Desert Hackberry and Chaparral Beardtongue plants. Nonetheless we were not shut out and managed to see 15 species with some notable highlights. We had excellent views of the Yucca Giant Skippers and a Rocky Mountain Duskywing (county record!) in the creek bed in Sunflower Valley, and saw a large number of Brown Elfins foraging on willow catkins. All-in-all a worthwhile trip. Here are the details on the species we saw with rough counts of the number of each in parentheses. Round Valley (3 species) Sara Orangetip (3) Variable Checkerspot (2) Empress Leilia (4) Old Sunflower Road (13 species) Pipevine Swallowtail (5) Two-Tailed Swallowtail (1) Dainty Sulphur (1) Spring White (3) Sara Orangetip (3) Brown Elfin (7) Zela Metalmark (1) Acmon Blue (1) Sagebrush Checkerspot (10) Satyr Comma (2) Yucca Giant Skipper (2) Golden-headed Scallopwing (2) Rock Mountain Duskywing (1) read more »

2/1/2018      Bug Fest– OdySea in the Desert Courtyard (No admission required!)

Enjoy crafts, cockroach races, and even edible insects as you learn about the world of insects. The Butterfly Wonderland & OdySea Aquarium Foundations present this festival in appreciation of all the many-legged creatures that inhabit our planet. Meet real live bugs up close, plan your butterfly garden and learn about bees and scorpions! It's FREE!! Recommended for all ages! @ Butterfly Wonderland, Sunday March 11, from 10 am- 4 pm. read more »

10/11/2017      Butterfly Wonderland Fall Plant Sale

Check out Butterfly Wonderland this weekend for their annual Fall Plant Sale October 15th-16th benefiting the Butterfly Foundation from 9am-4pm. Take home beautiful fall plants to boost butterfly, hummingbird and bee friendly gardens. Peruse craft vendors, educational booths and meet master gardeners. read more »

6/24/2017      LepSoc meeting 2017: July 30 - August 1 in Tucson

The 66th annual meeting of the Lepidopterists’ Society will be held from Sunday July 30 - Tuesday August 1, 2017 at the Tucson University Park Hotel (http://www.tucsonuniversityhotel.com) in Tucson, Arizona which is within walking distance to the University of Arizona Insect Collection (http://www.uainsectcollection.com). This event is hosted by the Department of Entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The University of Arizona has recently been ranked the top entomology program in the United States with particular specialties in Biodiversity, Integrative Pest Management and Pollination. read more »