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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Sand Fly - photo by Ray Wilson, Liverpool School of
Tropical Medicine; courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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.

May 25, 2015: Memorial Day ~ NO MEETING.

June 22, 2015, 7 PM meeting: Sand Flies in the southern United States: vectors of cutaneous leishmaniasis, presented by Stavana Strutz.

Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a newly emerging human disease in the southern United States, especially Texas. It has expanded its geographical range over 560 km in the last 4 decades. The vectors of this pathogen are sand flies, small insects that feed on a variety of animals, with 8 species found in Texas. This talk will review the known natural history of sand flies, their biodiversity, and their identification.

Stavana Strutz is a PhD candidate in the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior program in the Integrative Biology department at the University of Texas at Austin. She is studying the geographical emergence of cutaneous leishmaniasis in the southern United States by implementing a variety of integrative methods and techniques. She employs morphological and molecular identification methods, and computational modeling techniques to understand the parasite in terms of its various hosts (humans, companion animals, rodents, other mammals, and sand flies). She conducts field work across the state of Texas from the Rio Grande to Caddo Lake. She has received numerous grants from the UT Integrative Biology department and Texas EcoLab program. She has been an organizer of Science Under the Stars, co-host of the student radio show “They Blinded Me with Science,” and a speaker at numerous outreach events and conferences. She is also a graduate student representative in student government at the University of Texas and represents more than 11,000 graduate students.

June 27, 2015: Annual Butterfly Count

Meet 8 am Zilker Botanical Garden parking lot (there is usually a parking fee here). We will visit Zilker Botanical Garden, the Barton Creek Greenbelt and St. Edward’s Park. All skill levels are welcome, even beginners. We will count butterflies at several locations. We stop around noon for lunch. We usually go till about 3:00, depending on the weather, but you are welcome to leave at any point. Bring close-focusing binoculars and cameras if you have them. Be prepared for heat, mosquitoes and chiggers! For more information, contact Dan Hardy at

July 27, 2015, 7 PM meeting: Ant Identification, presented by Wizzie Brown.

Wizzie Brown is an Extension Program Specialist- IPM with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in entomology from The Ohio State University and a Master’s of Science in entomology from Texas A&M University. After leaving Texas A&M, Wizzie worked in structural pest control before taking a job with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Austin. Blog

Aug. 24, 2015, 7 PM meeting: Stingers! An Intimate Look at Wasps, presented by Valerie Bugh.

When it comes to diverse lifestyles in the animal kingdom, wasps provide some of the most intriguing examples. From minute parasitoids that complete their entire life cycle within the egg of another insect to large predators that can tackle a tarantula, wasps are both captivating and disconcerting. They are important biological controls of many pest insects, the social species are among the most successful animals on Earth, and the fact that some can sting makes them intimidating. We will explore the biology and ecology of this fascinating group through colorful photographs of the beasts and their behaviors.

Val Bugh is a local naturalist specializing in the arthropods of the Austin area, with interests in taxonomy and photography. She runs the Fauna Project at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, leads insect discovery walks, teaches entomology courses, provides insect/spider identifications, gives talks to local organizations, and has published a pocket guide to "The Butterflies of Central Texas." Website: Austin Bug Collection


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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