Dick Smith recently posted this to a number of us who have contributed lep sightings for his butterfly occurrence database. In the original email, the files noted below were attached, but here on LepLog you can find them all in the right hand navigation column. All the new sightings for 2012 have been incorporated in the files here on LepLog, so start planning your summer field trips with these updated occurrence data in mind! As always, thanks to Dick for keeping these charts updated and sharing them with butterfly enthusiasts in the middle Atlantic states.
Butterfly populations are known to be dwindling worldwide and that trend has been observed in some of our species locally. In an effort to promote conservation, it is important to keep abreast of which local species are showing such signs of decline and then concerned naturalist will be better able to propose measures that will hopefully stem some of these trends. In this effort, I am circulating the accompanying charts to local naturalists who I know have toured through Maryland and Delaware in recent years and have assembled lists of butterfly species they have encountered. By filling in data in the attached charts for counties and cities where unknown status is indicated, we will be better able to concentrate our attention onto those remaining species for which status remains unknown and for which declines may be occurring.
There are four charts attached to this e-mail: they are (1) a Maryland and (2) a Delaware county-by-county (and city) Butterfly Occurrence Chart and (3) a Maryland and (4) a Delaware county-by-county (and city) Butterfly Unknown Status Chart. The Maryland and Delaware Butterfly Occurrence Charts indicate whether or not a butterfly record has ever been officially logged into each of the respective jurisdictions for each of the butterfly species known for these states. The check mark (✔) indicates that a record exists for a species. For certain recorded species occurrences, A, S, and X symbols are used instead of the check marks. The A and S symbols indicate, respectively, that the species record is due either to an Accidental occurrence (i.e., accidental release or introduction) or to a Stray (i.e., species incidentally wandering far from normal range). The X indicates that based on observations of local lepidopterists and my own over a period of many years, the species apparently no longer occurs in the jurisdiction shown and is therefore considered to be eXtirpated there. In addition, the attached Maryland and Delaware Butterfly Unknown Status Charts indicate, with the symbol U (for unknown), uncommon to rare species for which I have received few or no records of occurrence of the species in the indicated counties or cities in the past 15 years. All persons with information on a species in a jurisdiction where cited with the symbol U are asked to provide data for this project. (Note that the total species on the Unknown Status Charts are a small subset of the total species on the Occurrence Charts. Species not included in the Unknown Status Charts are either generally common or are those for which we have recent data and for which no change in occurrence status is currently suspected (for more on this, please see footnote below). We are less concerned about additional data on these species.)
For the current project, I am asking each person to send to me by e-mail at Richard.Smith@jhuapl.edu the date and location (nearest town is sufficient) of their latest observation of any of the species for the respective counties and cities indicated with a U on my Unknown Status charts. I plan to publish the status of this information once each year on the Leplog website at https://leplog.wordpress.com/washington-area-butterfly-club/. Entries will include the latest date of a record, the approximate location of the record, and the data contributor. By citing the latest date, we will be able to assess how recently each of these species is known to have occurred in the area of interest. If certain species are eventually found to have disappeared from major parts of our region, conservation measures, such as protection of known habitat, will need to be implemented in surviving areas. Of course, if anyone observes a species currently identified with an X in an indicated area, this information will be vitally important; and conservation measures should be considered promptly at the sighting locality.
Since initiating this project early in 2011, I have received a large number of records from many of you for the Unknown Status Charts. Thank you all much for this. Contributed data is shown on these charts as discussed above. We are on the road to being reassured that several of our native butterfly species are still occurring in the cities and counties previously known from the historical record. However, as evident from the attached charts, the task is far from over. There is still an abundance of “U” entries on these charts. Please send in any new data if you have it or when it becomes available. Also, if anyone has later dates for the existing occurrence dates in the present charts, please forward that information to me too. Finally, please inform me if you notice that I have apparently missed entering some of your contributed data. Here’s hoping you all have great seasons this coming year in observing butterflies and that you will be able to help replace many more U’s in my charts with recent data entries.
Richard H. (Dick) Smith
(Footnote: for those of you who are more knowledgeable about statewide conservation activity involving butterflies, note that some (but not all) of the species omitted from my Unknown Status charts are those already considered to be rare, threatened, endangered, or extirpated in Maryland or Delaware and for which conservation considerations and measures have already been placed into action. For more on these species, please see the information and publications available at the Maryland and Delaware Natural Heritage Program websites at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/Plants_Wildlife/espaa.asp and http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/NHESP/information/Pages/Information.aspx .) <<