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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Acrobat ants with aphids, photo by Wizzie Brown

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.


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 Bachelorís of Science in entomology from The Ohio State University and a Masterís 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


Sep. 28, 2015, 7 PM meeting: Land Snails of Texas: Diversity and Conservation, presented by Ben Hutchins.

Texas is home to approximately 200 species of terrestrial snails with a fascinating diversity of shell shapes, ecological requirements, and biogeography. However, as a group, snails are largely overlooked by the naturalist community because of their small size, cryptic habits, inaccessible habitats, and a lack of resources for identification. However, because of their wide distribution across the state and the long-term persistence of shells on the landscape, terrestrial snails can be an excellent subject for naturalists. Traditionally, identification of snails by naturalists has been hindered by a lack of accessible field guides. Texas Parks and Wildlife is currently working on development of an online resource to aid naturalists in identification and documentation of land snails in Texas.

Conservation of terrestrial snails is hindered by a lack of basic distributional data, as a consequence of cryptic life habits, incomplete sampling, and taxonomic uncertainty. Despite this lack of data, several Texas species are likely critically imperiled due to habitat loss, invasive species, and climate change. Citizens can play a role in documenting the distribution of Texas land snails, particularly non-native species that are frequently encountered around urban centers.

Ben Hutchins was born in Kentucky where he received his B.S. in Biology from Western Kentucky University. He received his M.S. in Biology from American University, Washington DC, studying the phylogeography of groundwater invertebrates in the Shenandoah Valley. After volunteering with the Peace Corps in Morocco, he moved to San Marcos, TX in 2009. He received a PhD in Aquatic Resources from Texas State University in 2013, studying foodweb structure in groundwater communities in the Edwards Aquifer. Ben is currently employed by Texas Parks and Wildlife as the state invertebrate biologist for the Nongame and Rare Species Program where he gained an interest in the stateís terrestrial snail fauna.


Membership

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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