Mowing and memories

Ron Gatrelle rgatrelle at
Tue Oct 31 13:15:47 EST 2000

    As a native Iowan I want to amen the deteriorating environment there. As
a young collector in the 1950's, I enjoyed visiting my grandparents huge
farm in Story and Hardin counties. The ditches between the gravel roads and
the fields of corn and beans were home to many great species. D. plexippus,
C. p. olympus, L. thoe, L. phlaeas, L. helliodes, L. gorgone, S. cybele, P.
polyxenes, S. melinus, S. e. fumosa all abounded in the ditches with an
occasional C. zerene, P. protodice, and best of all the seldom seen and
never caught S. idalia.
     Wild flowers, grasses, sedges, herbs, ground squirrels, various snakes,
red-winged black birds, quail, pheasants the ditches/roadsides were alive.
Then of course the hay fields were filled with thousands of C. philodice (I
still have one fresh all white male), C. eurytheme (an almost all black
male), P. rapae, V. cardui, V. atalanta, V.virginiensis, P. coenia, and E.
    *The timber* (both the virgin and grazed part) were where I first found
S. c. falacer, S. aphrodite, P. comma, A. celtis, L. bachmannii.
    Then there are the prizes I found in my home town of Buffalo on the
Mississippi River: M. cymela, C. pegala all yellow population, L. anthedon,
one A. halesus, fall P. s. eubule, B. philenor, etc.
    The ditch habitat is long gone -- childhood memories are all that
remain. The human helped species of the hay fields still abound. My Uncle
Ben (in late 80's) still maintains the few acres of virgin timber --
fighting to keep the hawthorn trees out. He also has trouble with people
poaching plants.
     As one of a handful of butterfly collectors in Iowa back in the 50' and
60's I take it personal when people imply or state that "collecting" was a
major factor in the decline of (Iowa) butterflies. Collecting has never been
and is very rarely a problem. Habitat loss is the only major problem


   For subscription and related information about LEPS-L visit: 

More information about the Leps-l mailing list