The Florida Keys

Leptraps at Leptraps at
Tue Jan 8 14:39:21 EST 2002

Randy Emmitt:

Having spent many years collecting butterflies as a Lepidopterists in the keys, I will recommend several places for you to visit.

The Old Botanical Garden on Stock Island (Behind the Monroe County Jail). The Garden was Abandoned in the early 1960's and the jail maintained the lawn areas and the understory was great habitat. Once this was a fabulous place to find and collect butterflies and moths. In the mid 1980's, the Key West Garden Club obtained the property, promptly cleared all the understory and then wondered where the butterflies went. The answer, collectors. This was one of the few locations where Chlorostrymon maesites could be found. It is a canopy bug. Many other Keys species were once common here. Including Epargyreus zestos.

Big Pine Key: When entering Big Pine Key from the north on US1, turn on the first road to your right. Go past the fish camp and down until a salt marsh is on  you left. Look for a dirt road to left and pull in. Look straigh east and you will see Cactus Hammock, to the the south the road will enter a wooded area. The Bay Cedar will have Strymon martialis, the trail in woods will have polygonia leo. Look on the Jamaican Dogwood for the larvae of P. leo. They roll up young tender leaves. You will also find Red Mangrove. Here you can find Phocides pigmalion okeechobee. The larvae roll the leaves of the Red Mangrove and are quite impressive when mature. Also, Panoquina panoquinoides can be common here. If the where is not dry,  you should do well.

Behind the Publixs Shopping Plaza there is a slash pine area. Find coral ponds with Saw Grass and you will find Euphyes pilatka klotsii. The larvae roll the grass and mature larva will cause the grass to bend over. They are not hard to find. This is a great area for Anaea floridalis, Strymon acis bartrami, and the beautiful moth, Composia fidelisimma. The later feeds on Devils Claw, a vine that will grow in the pine trees, and is brillant red. Also, Hemiargus ammon can be found here.

Also, try Boot Key or No Name key. Both are great.

As for camping, sorry, I can't help you there. I like a bed!

Good Luck,


Leroy Koehn
Georgetown, KY

Also, if you travel down Card Sound Road to get to the Keys, watch for balloon Vine. You may find something small and blue. 


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