"Butterflies of America" update
grishin at chop.swmed.edu
Mon Dec 27 18:50:00 EST 2010
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
We've just completed a major update to our "Butterflies of America"
website to include thousands of new images. If you have a few minutes it's
definitely worth a look:
When the website started a couple of years ago, most entries in the
were "black", i.e., they didn't have any links behind them as we had no
images to show. Now, almost all are "blue" with links to illustrate these
butterflies. Many of the images we display are your images, assembled by
us in one place for everyone to enjoy. Thank you for your generous support
and contributions, every one of them is very much valued and adds to the
overall mosaic of helpful photographs.
During the last year we have reached certain milestones. Here are the most
1.) There are over 85,000 images on the web-site. It might not be
immediately obvious, but the images are all there, hiding behind the
blue name links.
2.) All but a handful of taxa are represented by at least one image. Most
of these images are specimen images, especially for Mexican, Central
American and Caribbean taxa, as we could obtain them from various
collections (including the MGCL, USNM, AMNH, ANSP, CMNH, CAS, LACM,
SDNHM, MZFC, IBUNAM and private collections). We are really looking
forward to further developing our live butterfly image collection for
the neotropics in the coming year.
3.) For the first time in human history, we completely illustrate all
Skipper species recorded to occur north of the Colombia-Panama border.
Skippers are one of the most difficult butterfly groups and we worked
hard to figure every single one of them.
4.) We are honored to display some of the images from the incredible
Janzen & Hallwachs database
taken by many people involved in the Costa Rican Guanacaste
biodiversity project. Their titanic collection of caterpillar images
is unmatched in terms of species diversity, and we are lucky to show
some representative photographs, e.g.,
These are really important photographs, as most specimens behind them
have been "barcoded" with DNA sequences available for future studies
and comparative work.
5.) Genitalia structures are essential for butterfly taxonomy, and we have
started displaying genitalic photos and illustrations from various
works, e.g., Godman & Salvin. Correct determination of difficult
species using genitalia is needed to learn more about these insects
and to develop reliable fieldmarks for their identification when
6.) When showing photographs from museum collections, we pay special
attention to the type specimens (a series used for the description of
a taxon), and we are dedicated to growing our "type" collection for
all of you to consult. These images show first in the thumbnail
For many more taxa, type specimen images will be added during the
Currently, BOA is not a field guide and is lacking detailed information
about distributions. Both of these features, as everyone would agree, are
very important to have. Due to limited time and resources, we have been
concentrating on building the photographic image collection, as
butterflies are variable and such a diversity of images we think is quite
helpful to have access to. This will remain our priority, but if we can,
we plan to provide identification keys and fieldmarks to highlight
differences between species.
If you like what you see on BOA and you have images of the species not
well illustrated, please consider sharing them with us. Finally, BOA is an
effort of volunteers. At the end of the calendar year, if you can, please
consider a 100% tax-deductible gift to the Butterflies of America
Foundation to keep us afloat and enable maintenance and growth of the BOA
Have a healthy and happy 2011!
Andrew D. Warren, Kim Davis, Nick V. Grishin,
Jonathan P. Pelham and Mike Stangeland
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