the way it was in suburban habitats

Robert Kriegel kriegelr at
Tue Jan 22 17:27:37 EST 2002

Bob, Paul, Patrick et al.

>My experience is that Roger is a pretty truthful observer. However,
>It is still antedotal as opposed to science. we get a lot of that.
>> I think it is curious that when lepidopterists are especially
>> motivated to find butterflies in suburban habitats (such as when
>> trying to document species occurrence in hopes of blocking land
>> development plans) they may have remarkably good luck. 
>> For example, I came across the following impressive species
>> occurrence list for a park threatened by development in Ann Arbor, 
>> Michigan:
>> Roger Kuhlman
>> Northeast Area Park,  Ann Arbor, Michigan Butterfly Sightings in 2001
>> Species                        Scientific             Total  Last
>> Wild Indigo Duskywing Erynnis baptisiae    123  10/3
>> Juvenal's Duskywing   Erynnis juvenalis         3  6/13
>> Horace Duskywing       Erynnis horatius         1  7/31
>> Sleepy Duskywing          Erynnis brizo           1  5/17

A _lepidopterist_ would have _voucher_ photographs or specimens whose
identity was independently verified by an expert.  A butterfly watcher
makes well intentioned visual observations.  These observations were made
by a knowledgeable group of hard working butterfly watchers.
Unfortunately, as Bob Parcelles stated earlier, they do not qualify as
science.  They also do not qualify as evidence in a court of law.  It takes
evidence to stop bulldozers, anecdotes just get you tears.

Erynnis baptisiae is a threatened species in Michigan and is seldom
encountered in the field.  I do find it odd that E. baptisiae is the most
frequently observed duskywing skipper at this location, far surpassing the
total for the usually very common E. juvenalis.  In fact, E. baptisiae was
the 6th most common of the 46 butterfly species observed.  Duskywing
skippers are notoriously difficult to tell apart on the wing.

P.S.  The Michigan Lepidoptera Survey (MLS) database contains the most
comprehensive set of verified records for Michigan's 52 endangered,
threatened and special concern species of Lepidoptera.  The MLS database
does not contain any vouchers for E. baptisiae from above location.
Hopefully, we can get Mr. Kuhlman's group to submit some verifiable
photographs next season.

Bob Kriegel
Bath, MI


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