Our friends and colleagues at The Maryland Biodiversity Project have announced the latest in a suite of cool tools on the site that will allow Maryland butterfliers to target relatively unknown (from a butterfly perspective) counties and quads for some special attention.
The tool lets you filter for category of taxon — in this case, butterflies — and displays the quads of Maryland from bright red to deep blue. The red quads are those where most of the collecting and observations have been concentrated; most of Howard Co., Soldier’s Delight, Finzel Swamp, Green Ridge State Forest, Montgomery Co. But a shocking number of USGS quads in MD are deepest blue — they have ZERO butterfly records associated with them in the MBP database. This includes many of the upper tier counties that border PA, lower Garrett Co., and the lower Eastern Shore.
The situation is similar for moths, with “hot pockets” of observation activity where lep watchers have been active, contrasting quickly with a huge chunk of the state that is relatively unknown lepidopterologically speaking. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of overlap; if anything, moth status is even less well known.
My guess is that a lot of the missing data on butterflies in Maryland isn’t really missing so much as unavailable to the public — a huge tranche of DNR data, much of which was collected in collaboration with the late Dick Smith, and Dick’s own personal records dating back decades. We can hope that these data are eventually made available to citizen scientists, but in the interim we butterfly watchers should all make an effort to “heat up” the Maryland map with USGS quad sightings in the coming year.
MDLepsOdes, the state-wide butterfly, moth, and ode listserv, plans to announce some of these “quad-buster” efforts over the summer. Check back often for field trip announcements associated with this effort here on LepLog.