Texas Grill Count

Mark Walker MWalker at gensym.com
Tue Sep 15 11:16:31 EDT 1998

And now for something completely different...

What a great butterflying weekend in south Texas.  I was concerned when I
arrived in Houston in the middle of a tropical storm, but on Saturday, under
heavy dark cloud cover, I found that the butterflies were as active as ever.
Here is a count of the individuals I am personally responsible for killing:

Individuals collected:  47
Individuals plastered on my grill:  18,720 (not counting the ones I swerved
out of the way for).

Other pertinent data:

The average number of butterflies contacted by my car during the 2-day
ordeal:  26/minute
Average number of other cars counted driving past a point on a typical
highway:  5/minute
Approximate number of miles of open highway in the vicinity:  21,000 (a
conservative number)
Average number of flight hours:  9/day (from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., no kidding)

Calculated values:

Average spacing of automobiles on highways:  5/mile
Total of cars:  105,000
Number of butterflies killed per car:  14,040/day

Total number of daily butterfly fatalities:  1,474,200,000
Total two day count:  2,948,400,000 + my 46 collected.  This is one of the
reasons I have a problem with anti-collecting sentiment.

Species list (in the vacinity of Laredo, TX):

Most of the butterflies seen were from the following species (in order of

Libytheana carinenta  (American Snout)
Kricogonia lyside (Lyside Sulpher)
Euptoieta claudia (Variegated Fritillary)
Danaus gilippus (Queen)
Colias [Zerene] cesonia (Southern Dogface)
Phoebis agarithe (Large Orange Sulpher)
Eurema nise (Mimosa Yellow)
Other species noted:
Agraulis vanillae (Gulf Fritillary)
Eurema boisduvaliana (Boisduval's Yellow)
Eurema daira (Barred Yellow)
Eurema nicippe (Sleepy Orange)
Nathalis iole (Dainty Sulpher)
Danaus plexippus (Monarch - only about 10 seen)
Chlosyne lacinia (Bordered Patch)
Vanessa atalanta (Red Admiral)
Asterocampa leilia (Empress Leila)
Papilio polyxenes (Black Swallowtail)
Papilio thoas (cresphontes?) (Thaos or Giant Swallowtail)
Battus philenor (Pipevine Swallowtail)
Strymon melinus (Grey Hairstreak)
Brephidium isophthalma (Eastern Pygmy Blue)
Leptotes cassius (Cassius Blue)
Hemiargus ceraunus (Ceraunus Blue)
Calephelis virginiensis (Little Metalmark)
Calephelis nemesis (Fatal Metalark) 
Pholisora mejicana (Mexican Sootywing)
Celotes nessus (Common Streaky Skipper)
several Amblyscirtes (Roadside Skipper)
Mark Walker

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