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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Stamnodes sp., photo by Ann Hendrickson

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.

Sept. 23, 2019, 7 PM meeting: Borers, Beetles, Bollworms and more: An Overview of USDA's Domestic Pest Detection Activities, presented by Xanthe A. Shirley.

Within the United States Department of Agriculture, Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) is tasked with safeguarding U.S. agriculture and natural resources against the entry, establishment, and spread of significant pests and with facilitating the safe trade of agricultural products. Domestic surveillance of potential and introduced pest threats is one of the various programs PPQ implements to support this mission. I will give an overview of PPQ’s domestic pest detection process and will discuss my involvement with the surveys I provide support for (Exotic Wood Borer/Bark Beetle, Old World Bollworm, Silver Y moth, and more).

Xanthe attended Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas and received a Bachelor of Science degree in entomology in 2012. During her time as an undergraduate, she worked in Dr. Bob Wharton’s braconid systematics lab. After working as an ANRP (Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy) intern during the 83rd Texas legislative session in Austin, Texas, she returned to Texas A&M University to pursue her Master of Science degree in entomology. She worked in Dr. Jim Woolley’s lab on Aphelinus taxonomy and systematics, and graduated in 2016. Since January 2017, she has worked for USDA APHIS PPQ as Domestic Identifier.

Oct. 28, 2019, 7 PM meeting: Pollinators in grasslands: habitat requirements and management, presented by Dr. Elinor Lichtenberg.

Grasslands provide habitat for diverse flower-visiting insects, but are highly threatened by human activities (e.g., urbanization, invasive grasses, disrupted fire regimes). In order to understand how various activities might affect pollinators – both negatively and positively – we need a better understanding of how pollinator communities respond to multiple aspects of grassland habitat. This talk will discuss habitat requirements of bees and other pollinators. It will also describe ongoing research on how grassland restoration impacts pollinator communities.

Dr. Elinor Lichtenberg is currently a postdoc in Shalene Jha’s lab at UT Austin, and is starting as an Assistant Professor at the University of North Texas in 2020. Her research focuses on plant-pollinator interactions, including animal behavior and community ecology. Elinor’s interest in pollinators grew out of her doctoral research on communication by tropical stingless bees (UC San Diego). She has since studied topics such as nectar robbing behavior, and how various land management practices impact pollinator communities. Elinor has become increasingly interested in how such activities affect pollinators with different life histories and resource requirements.


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. Annual membership is $20 per individual or $25 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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