The indefatigable team of Harry LeGrand and Tom Howard regularly updates their handbook and guide to North Carolina butterflies, most recently last March. This was the 18th edition, or “approximation” as Harry and Tom like to call it, and despite their protestations to the contrary really serves as the definitive natural history guide to North Carolina butterflies and skippers.
With the 2011 field season wrapping up, the 18th Approximation makes great reading and planning material for the long winter nights to come. And many of the life history notes are equally applicable here in the DelMarVa region; I’m perusing it tonight for more notes to help me find Hessel’s Hairstreak next spring on the Eastern Shore.
As the authors explain it:
“We have taken an unpublished set of county distribution maps for each species in the Carolinas, compiled by Jeff Nekola and Paul Opler in the 1980’s, and added records from the past 17 years from many sources, mainly sight records, such that the reader cannot tell which county records refer to specimens or to sightings only. They include records known to the NC Natural Heritage Program and the NC Division of Parks and Recreation (DPR) through the end of 2010.” They caution that the maps are certainly not complete, but few other states have such a rich resource to draw from — or such a dedicated team of compilers!
You can read or download Butterflies of North Carolina: 18th Approximation here.