The Occasional Newsletter of the Vermont Butterfly Survey
April 2006
Vol. 5 No. 1

Here's another issue of CHRYSALIS, an irregular 
e-mail newsletter about the Vermont Butterfly 
Survey. You're getting this because you have 
signed on as a VBS volunteer. If you'd rather not 
receive this newsletter, please reply to this 
e-mail and asked to be removed from the mailing 
list. Thanks for joining the survey.

Kent McFarland and Bryan Pfeiffer


1. Our Fifth and Final Season
2. Help Wanted on Data
3. Have You Left VBS?
4. More VBS Training-Blockbusting Sessions
5. Tracking VBS Volunteer Time Helps with Funding
6. Spring Azure complex in Vermont
7. Web Page Picks

The Vermont Butterfly Survey needs you now more 
than ever. Our survey work these past four years 
has produced a tremendous amount of critical 
information about the distribution of butterflies 
across Vermont. Residing in the VBS database are 
nearly 30,000 records of your encounters of 
butterflies. It’s the most comprehensive 
assessment of an insect taxon in Vermont. But we’re not done yet.

Before this field season gets into full swing 
(pun intended) we'll be presenting you with a 
complete update on our work to date – and the 
work that remains to be done. We'll show you the 
VBS priority blocks that still need more survey 
work. We'll suggest the best dates for additional 
survey work. And we'll be searching specifically 
for a few species that remain undiscovered in 
Vermont. Many of you will be asked to shift your survey work to another block.

So please begin to gather your energy and 
enthusiasm for another season. Once we finish, 
the final product will be impressive. We’ll have 
a strong baseline knowledge of butterfly 
distribution across the state. We’ll publish it 
for the world to see and use. And you’ll have the 
satisfaction of knowing that you were part of the 
most innovative insect mapping project Vermont has ever known.

There can be no better way to learn butterflies 
than to study them in front of your nose in the 
good company of other volunteers and experts. 
We’re finalizing our scrutiny of the 2005 data. 
That means we still need volunteers to review 
specimens and photos and their data. YOU DON'T 
certainly learn a lot. Plus, some folks actually 
believe it’s fun to hang out with Kent and Bryan. 
We need folks to help in Woodstock most any day 
in the next two or three weeks. Contact Kent ([log in to unmask]).


If you don't think you'll be able to do any more 
survey work (we hope not) PLEASE take a few 
minutes to gather and return any of your unused 
voucher cards and glassine envelopes. Drop us a 
quick email so we don't send you materials for 
this season. We need them back. You can mail them to:

Kent McFarland
Vermont Institute of Natural Science
27023 Church Hill Road
Woodstock, VT 05091
[log in to unmask]


In our continuing effort to make you a better 
butterflyer and get a block done fast, we’re 
planning some group training and survey work this 
spring. When they won't be chasing birds, Bryan 
and Kent will organize group blockbusting 
sessions in under-surveyed areas of the state. 
We'd like to begin these in late May, so that 
those of you who join us can continue to learn 
some new skills and apply them during the rest of 
the field season. We'll also be doing some 
butterfly walks for various organizations. You'll 
be welcome to join those as well. So stay tuned 
for the dates. We'll post them at the VBS web 
site soon. And sometime put something up at the 
last minute too. We will of course inform 
everyone via the VTLEP email list serve too, so 
sign up at


A major portion of VBS funding is through a 
program known as State Wildlife Grants (SWG). 
This is federal funding annually appropriated to 
each state for non-game wildlife research and 
conservation. The SWG program provides federal 
dollars to every state to support conservation 
aimed at preventing fish and wildlife populations 
from declining and avoiding potential listing 
under state or federal Endangered Species Acts

This grant is a 3:1 matching grant. In other 
words, we have to provide one dollar for every 
three federal dollars. The matching portion can 
be private grants and donations or in-kind 
donations such as the volunteer work that you do for this project.

For this upcoming field season we'll provide a 
form for each person to track volunteer time to 
help us meet our match. You'll receive this in 
your participant packet in April.  PLEASE send in 
this form with your data so we can meet our 
match. And, if you haven't done so, please send in last year’s form.

In order to make the best use of the State 
Wildlife Grants program, Congress charged each 
state and territory with developing a statewide 
Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy 
(CWCS). These strategies will provide an 
essential foundation for the future of wildlife 
conservation and a stimulus to engage the states, 
federal agencies and other conservation partners 
to strategically think about their individual and 
coordinated roles in prioritizing conservation 
efforts in each state and territory.

VBS has contributed key butterfly information to 
this plan to help determine which species are of 
concern. The plan is finished and can be read at


Harry Pavulaan has been kind enough to help us 
identify the Spring Azure complex in Vermont.  We 
recently got an update from Harry and here is 
what he had to say (not for the Azure-taxonomy faint of heart):

David Wright and I have been in extensive 
discussion regarding a perplexing situation with 
Vermont Azures but I think we have a 
solution.  There appear to be five distinct 
flights or species in Vermont.  The first flight, 
Celastrina lucia, appears to be less common than 
I originally thought.  I'll explain.  The second 
flight to emerge is the Cherry Gall Azure (CGA), 
but the 2003-2004 series has very few of 
these.  There was previous confusion with a THIRD 
spring flight and I believe that many of the 
previous "lucia" and "Cherry Gall Azure" 
specimens I identified from the 2002 series may be yet ANOTHER entity.

Dave and I just published our Cherry Gall Azure 
paper.  It is now called "Celastrina 
serotina".  In Vermont, lucia and serotina (CGA) 
are easily distinguished.  However, there are 
many specimens which I could not assign to 
either.  These have the undersides of lucia, yet 
the uppersides of serotina (CGA).  This baffled 
me.  Pursuant to other research we are engaged 
in, it dawned on us that most of northern New 
England is dominated by a spring flight of yet 
another Azure!  It replaces serotina (CGA) in 
many areas, yet flies with it in some, but mainly 
it comes on the heels of serotina.  Research on 
similarly puzzling populations from New Brunswick 
to Maryland leads us to conclude that this is yet 
another Azure.  Now, going back through my 
collection, the pieces suddenly fall into place 
and things make more sense.  This Azure is 
identified in my annotations to the Vermont 
Azures as "?under study?".  Wherever that 
designation is encountered, it pertains to this 
interesting taxon.  The ironic thing is that it 
MAY actually have been named in older days, but 
we need to do a considerable amount of research 
to determine if an older name is 
available.  Similarly, in my annotations, "CGA" 
refers to what is now called Celastrina 
serotina.  Did you ever receive a copy of that paper?
Unfortunately, my evaluation of the Vermont 
Azures was underway when the paper was published, 
so we are missing a considerable number of 
Vermont records in the paper.  A follow-up paper 
in the coming year or two, will update the paper 
from the Vermont survey and other field research.

Back to flights.  The fourth flight: the "early 
summer entity" is the most curious.  It is 
distinct from the fifth (August) flight of C. 
neglecta.  It emerges just prior to the time that 
neglecta emerges in southeastern New England (in 
early July), which is odd.  So it is not 
neglecta, in the true sense.  Vermont's August 
flight is true neglecta.  Boy, we're going to 
give these flights a good look at.

Which brings me to:  Norbert Kondla and Joe 
Belicek (both in Canada) are working on the DNA 
barcode project.  They are analyzing Celastrina 
for us, though results will be forthcoming and we 
don't know if any of the Celastrina flights will 
show DNA differences.  I've been sending them 
specimens from many locations.  In the Vermont 
specimen series, a handful of voucher envelopes 
contained duplicate specimens and have been sent 
to them for DNA analysis.  We're not sure how the 
"early summer entity" relates to August 
neglecta.  Neglecta was described from the 
Catskill Mountains in "summer" (where both the 
"early summer entity" flies at the end of June 
into July, and neglecta flies in late July into 
August), so could refer to either entity.


7. WEB PAGE PICK (ok so it is a PDF report…)

This report summarizes the current state of 
knowledge for the butterfly species of Maine and 
highlights species of conservation concern. 
Information on the occurrence of butterflies in 
Maine was reviewed from a variety of sources, 
including Brower (1974) and numerous other 
publications, specimens contained in most major 
northeastern museums, numerous private 
collections, data complied during Maine 
Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s 
(MDIFW) ecoregional survey project, and MDIFW’s 
rare species tracking database. A database 
(Excel) of nearly 9000 records contained in 42 
fields was constructed from all records obtained 
from the above sources. These include both 
locality and date records (records with different 
dates from same locality) and 3904 township 
records. At the completion of the Maine Butterfly 
Survey Project this data will be shared with 
conservation partners and other interested 
parties. Brower (1974) listed 103 species of 
butterflies and skippers for Maine. Following a 
review of the sources listed above, an additional 
11 species have been added bringing the state’s 
total list to 114 species. A few of the additions 
are the result of taxonomic changes that split 
formerly one species into two, but most result 
from new species discoveries. Of special note is 
the relatively high proportion (13%) of Maine 
butterflies and skippers that are extirpated (5 
species) or state-listed as endangered or special 
concern (10 spp.), a result consistent with 
global trends elsewhere for the group (Stein et 
al. 2000, Thomas et al. 2004). Much has been 
learned regarding butterfly species rarity and 
threat in Maine since the previous state-listing 
process in 1997 (McCollough et al. 2003), and 
several revisions, mainly additions to the 
endangered and special concern list, are 
recommended based on the data summarized in this 
study. On average, 63 species of butterflies were 
found in each county in Maine. This represents 
about 55% of the 114 species of butterflies 
reported for the state. Highest species richness 
was recorded in Oxford Co. with 91 species (80% 
of all species known from Maine). Relatively high 
species richness was also recorded from 
Washington Co. (87 species) and Penobscot Co. (81 
species). The least number of species was 
recorded from Sagadahoc Co. (37 species), Knox 
Co. (38), Lincoln Co. (43), and Androscoggin Co. 
(42). Only eight species were recorded from all 
counties in the state. However, collecting effort 
in Maine has not been uniform and the data 
compiled in this assessment should help to focus 
future sampling effort toward under-surveyed 
species and locales. Color fact sheets are 
provided (Appendix 1) for 35 breeding resident 
species in Maine that are considered endangered, 
special concern, extirpated, or rare. The fact 
sheets include information on identification, 
distribution, status, ecology, and threats and 
are intended to stimulate further protection and 
study of Maine’s rarest butterflies. Finally, 
township-scale distribution maps are provided for 
each of Maine’s 114 butterfly species, (Appendix 
2), all of which require further distributional study.

to read the report.

Vermont Butterfly Survey
Conservation Biology Department
Vermont Institute of Natural Science
27023 Church Hill Rd.
Woodstock, VT  05091
802-457-1053 x124

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