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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Striate Wolf Snail (Euglandina singleyana), 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.


Sep. 12, 2015, 10 AM to 4 PM: Monarch Appreciation Day, sponsored by Austin Parks & Recreation at Zilker Botanical Gardens

Head to Zilker Botanical Gardens for a family-friendly, educational, and fun-filled event to celebrate Monarch Butterflies and other pollinators. Information and schedule of events


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 state’s terrestrial snail fauna.


Oct. 26, 2015, 7 PM meeting: How to Photograph Army Ants, presented by Alex Wild.


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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