Lower Rio Grande Rarities

Chris J. Durden drdn at mail.utexas.edu
Mon Dec 31 19:08:54 EST 2001

As Mike points out, there has been a recent run of truly remarkable 
rarities sighted and photographed in the lower Rio Grande Valley. This is 
not only due to a favorable episode in the climatic cycle but to the 
recruitment of many new observers to the butterflying movement. We can view 
this as a positive aspect of a movement that has also been responsible for 
fostering a decline in the number of active collectors in the field - a 
negative aspect in my opinion.
    I suspect many of the readers of this list have at some time, made a 
trip to "The Valley". I would like to challenge you to post your collected 
records to this list. I shall compile them as they come in. Maybe we can 
determine the phase of the climatic cycle that promotes the occurrence of 
these rarities in the US. I would suggest reporting your records from the 
13 southernmost counties of Texas. Some of you may know of specimens in 
other collections (some of which may have been taken without property-owner 
permission). I would hate to see these records disappear because of their 
legal (or retroactive legal status) so I would suggest reporting them in 
some anonymous manner. A specimen photo would raise some of these records 
from the level of hearsay to the level of acceptable record. The 1981 
redefinition of the U.S. Legal term "wildlife" renders all un-permitted 
collections of butterflies on Wildlife Refuges illegal contraband for the 
period both after and before 1981 by present interpretation, even though 
the concept of anterior culpability appears to be unconstitutional.
    There was good collecting in the RGV  in the 1960's-70's. Mike Rickard 
and Bill McGuire published a checklist based on these records. Roy Kendall 
also published many new records from this period. Raymond Neck scoured the 
literature for published records before this period and summarized some of 
his findings in his Field Guide to Butterflies of Texas.. There was good 
collecting in the RGV in the 1940's and H. A. Freeman published many of 
these records. There was another beneficial spell around 1900 which led to 
some of the inclusions by Holland in The Butterfly Book, some of which have 
not been seen since. The first beneficial spell on record was at the time 
of the International Boundary Survey and the Emory Expedition, the results 
of which were published by Scudder in the 1870's.
...............Chris Durden

At 03:47 PM 12/31/2001 -0600, you wrote:
>Over the last few years, the local Valleyites have come to develop an
>awareness of the incredible butterfly diversity that exists along the Rio
>Grande. They've built numerous gardens and are now sending in regular
>reports to the TX-Butterfly Listserv. The first link below has photos of a
>portion of the recent rarities reported from along the Rio Grande. Mike
>Recent Rio Grande Valley Rarities
>NABA-South Texas
>NABA Butterfly Park
>TX-Butterfly Listserv
>Mike Quinn
>New Braunfels, TX
>ento at satx.rr.com
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