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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Protandrena sp., photo by Valerie Bugh

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.

Mar. 27, 2017, 7 PM meeting: Native Bees, the Buzz in Your Backyard, presented by Karen Wright.

When people think about bees, the first image to come to mind is the honey bee. Sometimes folks even recognize that there is more than one species of bee; bumble bees, carpenter bees and sweat bees are also known by many people. But the reality is much more than that. There are more than 19,000 species of bees known to science and many more yet undescribed. Most native bees are solitary, meaning that they donít live in a hive and they donít have a queen. Most bees make bee bread, not honey. They range in size from three quarters of a millimeter to over two inches in length and come in many more colors than just black and yellow. They have complex relationships with the flowers that they pollinate and because of these relationships, the earth has been covered in a breathtaking diversity of wildflowers.

Karen Wright received a BA in Biology and a BS in Environmental Science at the University of Delaware in 1996. She became interested in insects while volunteering at the Southwest Research Station in Portal, AZ and started her masterís degree in Entomology at Oregon State in 1997. Her dissertation was on the true bugs and beetles of hazelnut orchards in Oregon. After her Masterís she worked for almost ten years for the Sevilleta Long-Term Research Program based out of the University of New Mexico doing mostly field work and data management. During this time, she developed an interest in native bee ecology and taxonomy and she started a long-term bee monitoring program and a plant phenology project that are currently in their 16th year. Karen took The Bee Course in 2001 and has become an accomplished bee taxonomist , specializing in the bees of the southwest. In 2009, Karen started her PhD program at the University of New Mexico in Dr. Kelly Millerís lab of insect systematics. She is currently wrapping up her dissertation on the evolution of diet breadth in Melissodes Latreille bees and is the new Assistant Curator of the Insect Collection at Texas A & M University. Her main research interests include native bee community ecology, diet breadth of native bees, and plant flowering phenology.


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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