Texas Butterfly Festival - HUGE SUCCESS

Mike Quinn mqnature at hiline.net
Thu Oct 29 11:00:41 EST 1998

The just-finished Texas Butterfly Festival was by all accounts was a huge

The following story is a wonderful example of the potential of butterflying
in the Rio Grande Valley and nearby areas.

At the end of my seminar on "The Butterflies of South Texas," an amateur
butterfly watcher from the Valley brought up a butterfly she had caught in
her yard in Pharr a few years ago that turned out to be Opisphantes
boisduvalii, an "Owl" in the Neotropical Brassolidae family closely related
to the well known Morphos. There's no record of any species from this
family  in the official "Catalogue/Checklist of the Butterflies of America
North of Mexico!"

The story doesn't end there. After the TBF, twenty of us from as far away
as California and Massachusetts went to Monterrey, Mexico for two days. Our
experts, including Fred Heath, a Director of the North American Butterfly
Association and John and Gloria Tveten, authors of "Butterflies of Houston
and Southeast Texas" were easily recruited. Monterrey qualifies as the area
of highest butterfly diversity most easily reached by car from the United
States. (It's an industrial city nestled into the Sierra Madre Orientals
just 150 miles southwest of McAllen on a new highway.) First stop was
"Chipinque" (http://www.chipinque.org.mx) where even the esteemed were
literally getting "life butterflies" as soon as we entered the gate. We
stayed that night in beautiful cabins at "El Manzano," just south of
Monterrey. In the morning we watched Monarchs separate from their dense
overnight clusters on the Pine trees. Final stop back in Monterrey was "La
Estanzuela." It was over cast and even drizzly, but it proved to be as
productive and as breathtakingly beautiful as the other destinations. The
day was waning as we returned to the entrance. Two large orange butterflies
circled the trail. They weren't Monarchs, Queens, Soldiers, Julias, Gulfs,
or Mexican Silverspots. No, these rapidly flying crepuscular creatures were
the same Owl species found in Pharr, TX! A species not registered on the
Papalotl (http://www.intercable.net/papalotl/texto.htm) Club de
Observadores de Mariposas' checklist for the Monterrey area.

As we returned to our starting point in Mission, TX just before midnight,
John Tveten remarked that that was probably the most enjoyable 2 days he
had ever spent in the field. Quite the kudo from someone who's written a
weekly nature column for the "Houston Chronicle" for over 23 years!

Is it too much of a stretch to suggest that continued success like this
will change the face of North American Butterflying? Only Time will tell...

Abbreviated List of Species Seen:

Tailed Orange (E. proterpia)
Red-bordered Metalmark (Caria ino)
Curve-wing Metalmark (Emesis emesia)
Red-bordered Pixie (Melanis pixe)
Mexican Silverspot (Dione moneta)
Zebras (H. charitonius)
Mexican Fritillary (grill kill) (Euptoieta claudia)
Theona Checkerspot (Thessalia theona)
Elf (Microtia elva)
White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae)
California Sister (A. bredowii)
Band-celled Sister (A. fessonia)
Mexican Bluewing (M. ethusa)
Common Mestra (M. amymone)
Red Rim (Biblis hyperia)
Common Banner (Epiphile adrasta)
Red-spotted Purple (L. a. astyanax)
Ruddy Daggerwing (M. petreus)
Tropical Leafwing (A. aidea)
Soldier (D. eresimus)
Rainbow Skipper (Phocides urania)
Two-barred Flasher (Astraptes fulgerator)
Sickle-winged Skipper (Achlyodes thraso) (=mithridates)
White-Patched Skipper (Chiomara asychis)


Opisphantes boisduvalii (no English name)

Mike Quinn <mqnature at hiline.net> Field Trip Co-Chair (956) 464-4181
Texas Butterfly Festival - http://www.mission.lib.tx.us/chamber/butter.html
Mission, TX in the Rio Grande Valley - Oct. 23-25, 1998 - Call:

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