Austin, Texas, is home to about 170 species of butterflies. It is also the home of the Austin Butterfly Forum, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to butterfly conservation and to enriching people's lives through butterflies. The Austin Butterfly Forum is a club that organizes field trips, conducts butterfly counts, promotes native gardening, performs conservation activities, and meets monthly for an educational presentation. We are a community of butterfly enthusiasts who also enjoy dragonflies & damselflies, bees, beetles, spiders and arthropods in general, and our meeting presentations span this gamut as well. Join Us!

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Cactopinus atkinsoni, a bark beetle

Meetings are held in the Zilker Garden Center, 2220 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX, 78746 at 7:00 PM on the fourth Monday of each month except December.

Jan. 28, 2019, 7 PM meeting: Life Under the Bark: The Secret Lives of Bark Beetles, presented by Dr. Thomas H. Atkinson.

A review of the natural history, ecology, and diversity of a large group of tiny beetles, some of which behave badly and cause economic damage.

Tom Atkinson grew up on the edge of the swamps in southern Florida. Since leaving home he has moved on to higher education and to higher ground where he has remained ever since. The relentless fauna of subtropical Florida probably explains his early interest in insects and their control. As a result of 4-H he realized that one could actually get paid to study bugs and has never looked back. He was educated at the University of Florida, receiving a B.S. (1972), M.S. (1976), and Ph.D. (1979) in the mysteries of entomology.

His career path could best be described as “taking the scenic route”. He has worked for:

  • Chiquita Banana in Panama,
  • the National School of Agriculture in Mexico,
  • a biological reserve on the Pacific coast of Mexico,
  • the University of Florida,
  • the University of California, Riverside.
  • Dow AgroSciences Research & Development doing field research in the continuing struggle to outwit termites, cockroaches, ants, and similar vermin.
  • The insect collection of the University of Texas at Austin.

He has published 98 scientific and technical articles and book chapters on obscure aspects of the lives of cockroaches, and termites, and bark beetles. His current research focuses on the systematics and biogeography of Neotropical bark and ambrosia beetles. One of his ongoing projects is which is an authoritative and exhaustive atlas, catalog, and image library of North and Central American bark and ambrosia beetles.


All of our normal events are open to the public, but you may want to become a member of the Austin Butterfly Forum to help support us and our events. We also treat members to some extra goodies, such as reduced admission to special programs that have a fee and discounts on purchases made at meetings. Membership is $20 annually per household payable during meetings or by mail to Doris Hill, ABF Treasurer, 1605 Broadmoor, Austin, TX 78723.

For more information, please contact Mike Quinn, ABF president at 512-577-0250 or

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