It’s a sign of spring at least as reliable as the first Mourning Cloak — a new “Approximation” from Harry LeGrand (with illustrations by Tom Howard) for NC butterflies. It’s hard to describe exactly what an Approximation is, but it’s part atlas, part field guide, and part armchair handbook for the butterflies of North Carolina. Some descriptors do come readily to mind: comprehensive, monumental, easily accessible, eagerly anticipated.
The 22nd Approximation (updated for data from the 2014 field season) has some new features that regular readers and new should appreciate, Harry notes:
1. Once you are on a species account on the website (by clicking the first
letter of the common name or scientific name, and then clicking View next
to the species name) — *you can now click on a colored county, and see all
of the records for the species for that county*. Thus, on the Byssus
Skipper map, if you click on Scotland County, you will see 3 records
listed, for example.
2. On the PDF page for a species (not on the website species account), we
now have *the # of records and # of individuals of that species seen I[n
NC] in 2014*. This is located just to the right of the range map. This will
be of use to many of you, and you might wonder — how many records were
there in 2014 for Zebra Longwing (sadly, none) or Painted Lady (a whopping
85 records). You can get to the PDF from a species account by clicking on
“View PDF”, located next to the top photo of the species, above the range
map. Thus, if you are in the Byssus Skipper account, when you click on View
PDF, you see that there were 9 records totaling 18 individuals reported in
My favorite version is the PDF, but the website also has searchability functions that come in hand when I carry it in the field on my iPad and can get a cell signal.