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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American Lady, photo by Jeff Keverline
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.
- June 25, 2016: Butterfly Count
- The Butterfly Forumís annual butterfly count is Saturday, June 25, 2016. To participate meet at the Zilker Botanical Garden Center (2220 Barton Springs Rd.) parking lot at 8:00 am. Everyone is
welcome, including all skill levels. We count within a 15 mile diameter circle centered at Mount Bonnell. In addition to Zilker, we visit many of the best butterfly-finding locales around town, including the Barton Creek Greenbelt and St. Edward's Park. We usually work as a single group. Our focus is butterflies, but we are interested in moths and other insects.
This is the butterfly equivalent of the Audubon Christmas Bird count. The results are submitted to the North American Butterfly Association (NABA).
Be prepared to walk through brush and wet areas. Bring close-focusing binoculars if you have them. Long pants, hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent are recommended. The count typically lasts until mid afternoon, although you may leave at any time. We have lunch at a restaurant between stops.
If it rains Saturday, we may re-schedule to the following day. For more information contact
- June 27, 2016, meeting: Call the SWAT team: How to manage mosquitoes in the urban environment
, presented by Todd Jackson.
- Every year around this time a few citizens reach out to the Surface Water Team of the Watershed Protection Department because they think that droves of mosquitoes are emerging from the neighborhood creek or pond. City environmental scientists have found that this has not yet been true and that the real story is much more insidious.
Todd studied biology at University of North Texas where he investigated the use of insects as biological indicators to evaluate land management practices over time. Specifically, Todd examined the changes in grasshopper (Orthoptera: Acrididae) species assemblages on grazed versus non-grazed grasslands at Camp Bowie in central Texas.
- July 25, 2016, meeting: Fireflies of Texas: Glowing, Glowing, Gone, presented by Ben Pfeiffer.
- A talk on the types of fireflies (Lampyridae) in Texas. Ben will discuss why they flash and how fireflies use light to communicate to potential mates. He will show you how to identify Texas species and discuss their distribution across the state. He will talk on how to create a good habitat for fireflies in your yard and specific threats to why fireflies are disappearing in many areas of Texas.
Ben is Founder of Firefly.org, a firefly conservation and educational non-profit. Ben got his start with fireflies in 2009 after hearing about firefly disappearance in parts of the US. The website was created to educate those on how to help keep fireflies from disappearing. Since then, Firefly.org has grown in popularity and is currently the internetís most visited website about fireflies. Benís work focuses on researching Texas firefly species. He is working on understanding Lampyridae distribution across the state, threats to its habitat and survival, and educating people on how to protect fireflies in their area. Ben studied biology at Texas State University and is a certified Master Naturalist. He is a lifelong native Texan and has spent most of his life working to understand Texas ecology and unique diversity.
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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