Schinia of southern Florida and other records

Leptraps at Leptraps at
Sat Sep 25 00:26:26 EDT 1999

To whom it may concern:

 am relatively new to LEPS-L and have read all the "to release or no to 
release" comments on the ongoing debate. I refuse to take part in such 
mindless chatter. Although new to LEPS-L, I have been a lepidopterists for a 
long time. Only a few messages have increased our knowledge of Lepidoptera. 
Here is my in put.

How far south in Florida do Schinia moths occur? I began to work on that 
questions in 1998. I currently have records of and have collected specimens 
of 13 species in Martin County. The Majority from the sand ridge habitats, 
especially those in Jonathan Dickenson State Park. (I have a permit).

To date I have taken the following: Schinia scissoides, Schinia spinosa, 
Schinia fulleri, Schinia petulans, Schinia rivolusa, Schinia nubila, Schinia 
saturata, Schinia trifascia, Schinia tuberculum, Schinia sanquinea, Schinia 
arefacta, Schinia sordida, and Schinia carolinensis.

This most recent find, a single male of Schinia fulleri was collected in a 
light trap Wednesday night 22 Sept 1999. I believe there are 3 or 4 more 
species yet to be discovered in Martin County. I have operated light traps in 
several locations in Palm Beach County this year, and to date have found  3 
species. Schinia nubila, Schinia saturata, and Schinia sordida.  I have only 
operated one light trap for one night in Broward County and took several 
Schinia nubila. I have collected Schinia sanquinea in Dade and Collier County 
in 1989. David Fine Collected Schinia gaurae in Collier County on Marco 
Island in June of this year. With the exception of Schinia sanquinea, all of 
these are new records (to the best of my knowledge). How many species occur 
in counties of Dade, Broward and Palm Beach is unknown. These counties have 
lost much of their habitats due to development.How many species actually 
occured will never be known.

There is a significant population of Schinia carolinensis in Jonathan 
Dickenson State Park. It was extremely abundant in 1998 and rather scarce 
this year. This is a seldom encountered species over most of it's range.

Now, doesn't that beat "to release or not to release"!

Much can be said for "getting among em", as Charlie Covell would say. I have 
spent a good deal time poking around remnant hammocks in southern Dade 
County. I may regret this report, but I found Chlorostrymon maesites in 
several of them in May and June. A rather bright little thing. I took two 
females at a hammock that were in the tops of Lysiloma latisiquum trees. I 
confined them with some cuttings and they produced about thirty ova. Needless 
to say, that is all. No larva came forth. These trees were about 40 feet in 
height. I have seen several Chlorostrymon maesites flying in the tops, but my 
eye sight and coordination are not what they were thirty years ago when I 
took my first specimens at 40 feet in trees on Stock Island in the Lower 
Keys. I was ask what brought Chlorostrymon maesites back. I do not think that 
Chlorostrymon maesites ever left. Chlorostrymon maesites is a creature of 
tree tops and is seldom encountered on the ground or at flowers near the 
ground. Although I have taken it on Eupatorium on Key Largo in December a 
number of times in the early 1980's. I also found a Chlorostrymon maesites in 
1991 in a hammock south west of Homestead. I have visited that hammock 
several times in 1998 and 1999 without finding a trace. If you want to find 
Chlorostrymon maesites, keep looking up!

Recently Ron Gatrelle in his "Taxonomic Report" describe Neonympha helicta 
from Dade County. I assumed them to be Neonympha areolatus, however, Ron 
thinks otherwise. I found them around the abandoned Coast Guard Station on 
Card Sound Road just east of US 1 in 1989, 1990 and 1991. I haven't seen one 
since. I was even permission to collect on the station and a key to the 
gates. (Now say what you will about the government, but they have never said 
no to me when I ask to collect on their property. They even give me keys!) 
Ron thinks this population may be endangered. I believe they are still there, 
I just haven't been there when they are on the wing. I am sure there are 
black helicopters there as well, although they are not there when I am!

There has been much talk of natural selection and rearing larva indoors. I 
recently found several hundred larva of Pseudoshinx tetrio on several 
Plumeria ssp trees in the yard of a home in Boynton Beach. I collected 
approximately 150 of them when the Orkin man arrived. He made a natural 
selection, diazonine of course, and finished the rest off. About 50% of the 
individuals that I took had parasites. A very small fly. The parasites got 
there before me. I collect many larva and complete them indoors. It works for 

The safest place for a mass release of butterflies is in the Florida Keys. 
They don't stand a chance of surviving.  Natural selection will get them, 
diazonine of course, the natural selection of mosquito control.

One final note. Hurricane Andrew damaged much of the remaining hammocks in 
Dade County. Several leps have not been seen since Andrew blew through in 
August of 1992. They are Hemiargus thomasi, Chlorostrymon simaethis, Eunica 
monima, and Epargyreus zestos. I will keep poking, you never know what you 
can find!

Leroy Koehn
Lake Worth, Florida

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