The Rio Grande Valley's Nature Site

Rio Grande Valley Butterfly and Rio Grande Valley Lepidoptera Links:

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Wow!  Over 325 species of butterflies have been found in the Lower Rio Grande Valley or LRGV. 
Our yard in Mission has had 158 butterfly species (ALL HAVE BEEN DOCUMENTED BY PHOTOS OR SPECIMENS), more species than are found on 23 states' lists. 
There are probably several reasons for these large numbers of butterfly species that are found in South Texas' Lower Rio Grande Valley: 
1) More people willing to document the RGV butterflies through collecting and through raising LRGV caterpillars.   
2) Fantastic, relatively inexpensive digital zoom cameras only available in the past few years that are able to document many LRGV butterfly species, without having to collect them. 
3) Excellent field guides and  the Internet references that have recently become available to assist you in identifying the RGV butterflies.
4) The ever growing number of people in the field that, because of all of the above, are out looking for the Rio Grande Valley butterflies, and are finding new LRGV lepidoptera species.   Many of these folks are networking to help each other.
5) Public and private awareness of the need for the planting of LRGV native butterfly nectaring and LRGV native butterfly host plants. 
6) Establishing small, medium, and quite large butterfly-specific gardens by Federal, State, LRGV county, LRGV city governments, LRGV school districts, and Rio Grande Valley residents.
7) Awareness and appreciation by RGV governments, RGV school entities, RGV businesses, and RGV Chambers of Commerce about the economic impact of LRGV butterfliers and RGV butterflies
8) There are more rather recently established, re-vegetated, and protected habitats in the Rio Grande Valley than the RGV has had in many years. 
9) The Rio Grande Valley's southern location and the LRGV's close proximity to Mexico as well as rather new Mexican butterfly plantings and Mexican government and Mexican citizen awareness of the economic impact of tourist butterfliers and Mexican butterfliers.
10) And probably most important, the willingness of very knowledgeable lepidopterists to share their experience and knowledge about the Rio Grande Valley moths and the RGV butterflies.
Have hardly mentioned the RGV moths and the ever-growing number of folks looking for these beautiful and unique creatures.
Come see the mariposas y polillas of South Texas' Lower Rio Grande Valley or LRGV, come often, bring friends, and use the links on this site to help you find and enjoy our LRGV lepidoptera!

Three Tips To Attract Butterflies That Don't Often Come To Flowers:
1.  Make a Bait:  I use 6 overipe bananas + 1lb. of brown sugar + 1 bottle of Guinness Extra Stout (because the Guinness is not pasteurized like most beers are, and pasteurization kills yeast).  Since Guinness contains live yeast, the bait can ferment, even in the fridge.  Use a blender to mix up all this muck.  Store the bait in a plastic, one gallon container with a loosened cap (so the gases can vent).  I keep the bait in the fridge (again, remember to let the container vent).  And remember to only fill your storage container half full or less, because the bait will rise like homemade bread due to the yeast, and the bait can double in size. 
I put a little out on raised horizontal log or a small feeder that is just a shallow dish on a 2 ft pole, either are placed 2-3 ft away from the path because of bees and wasps using the bait, also.  I wipe a little on a vertical tree trunk, also.  Some butterflies come to the horizontal feeders, others will use the vertically placed bait.  Use only a very small amount, because on warm or hot days the bait will ferment, rise, and double or triple in size, just like bread does, because of the yeast in the Guinness.
Some people store their containers outdoors so the mix can really ferment, but I have had excellent luck just keeping it in the fridge.  Moths are attracted to the bait also.  Again, be aware that we get bees and wasps coming to the feeders, so we place the feeders away from where  people walk.  We have never had anyone stung.  And since we only use about 1/4 cup per day, no one has ever complained about the yeasty-beer odor.   Birds occasionally eat the brew and opposums, raccoons, and rats may eat it at night.  I add the bait everyday.
We pour a plastic water bottle about 1/2 full of the bait and take it into the field to spread around, also.  If you do this, BE SURE you have not overfilled the plastic bottle and that the cap is loose enough for the bottle to vent.   As the bait is heated in the car, it can quickly expand and build up pressure if you are not careful.
2.  Put some cut up fruit in a wire-mesh hanging basket.  We got the tri-baskets, from WalMart, that are attached one below the other by three chains and that are designed for holding fruit and eggs out in the open.  We cut off the top two baskets so that we are just hanging one basket, then we re-attach the three chains to the larger bottom basket.  Put cut up overipe bananas, mangos, papayas, pears, peaches, or apples that the grocery store will probably just give you if you ask, because the store cannot sell them.  Hang the basket just below eye level so that you can look down into it and photograph inside it, but not so low that you cannot see or photograph the ones that hang from the bottom of the mesh basket.  Lots of butterflies will hang from the bottom of the mesh basket.  By the way, you can place a round plate that a frozen dinner came in and that has a raised rim around it, inside the mesh basket and place the brew-bait in the dish.  If you do this, however, be sure you place some small rocks or sticks in the dish and don't get the bait on them so the butterflies don't have to land in the bait and get the sticky mess on themselves. 
3.  If you see dried animal feces on road or trail, re-hydrate the feces with a little water and wait for about 10-15 minutes.  There are lots of butterflies that come to feces, also.

To View Photos of LRGV Butterflies, CLICK HERE

To View Photos of the Life Cycles of LRGV Butterflies, CLICK HERE

To View Photos of LRGV Moths, CLICK HERE

To View Photos of Mexican Butterflies, CLICK HERE

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FIELD GUIDES FOR THE LGRV:

  • A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America, by Jeffrey Glassberg

  • Kaufman Field Guide to the Butterflies of North America, by Jim P. Brock and Kenn Kaufman.

  • Butterflies Through Binoculars-The East, by Jeffrey Glassberg.

  • Butterflies through Binoculars-the West, by Jeffrey Glassberg.

  • Butterflies through Binoculars-Florida, by Jeffrey Glassberg.

  • Butterflies of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, by Ro Wauer.

  • Butterflies of South Texas--CD-ROM, by David Hanson.

  • Butterflies of Houston and Southeast Texas, by John and Gloria Tveten.

  • A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of Mexico & Central America, by Jeffrey Glassberg.

  • Butterflies of Northeastern Mexico, by Kim Garwood and Richard Lehman.

  • Butterflies of Central America Vol. 1, by Kim Garwood and Richard Lehman.

  • Butterflies of Central America Vol. 2, by Kim Garwood and Richard Lehman.

  • Caterpillars in the Field and Garden, A Field Guide to the Butterfly Caterpillars of North America, by Allen, Brock, and Glassberg.

  • Caterpillars of Eastern North America, by David Wagner.

RIO GRANDE VALLEY BUTTERFLY INFORMATION:

Photographic Checklist of the Butterflies of the LRGV

World Birding Center (9 LRGV Butterfly Sites)

Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail & Butterfly Sites-Lower Texas Coast (LRGV)

All Valley Butterfly Sites

LRGV Butterfly Trail On-line Map

Valley Butterfly Hotspots

South Texas Butterfly Information from NABA South Texas (NABAST)

Mike Quinn's Caterpillar Food Plants for the Lower Rio Grande Valley

Mike Quinn's Butterfly Plants for the Lower Rio Grande Valley

Jan Dauphin's South Texas Butterflies Photos

Dave Hanson's Butterflies of South Texas

Berry Nall's Starr Co. Butterflies Photos

Dan Jones' LRGV Butterfly Blog

Kim Davis & Mike Stangeland's "Butterflies of Texas and NE Mexico" photos

Dave Czaplak's South Texas Butterfly Photos

Nelson Dobb's South Texas Butterfly Photos

Will Cook's South Texas Butterfly Photos

MEXICO AND NEOTROPICAL BUTTERFLY INFORMATION:

Butterflies of America

Kim Garwood's and Richard Lehman's Neotropical Butterfly Photo Gallery

Kim Davis & Mike Stangeland's "Butterflies of Texas and NE Mexico" photos

Mexican Butterflies (Nelson Dobb's Site)

Mexico and Central America Butterfly Database (D. H. Janzen's Site)

Biologia Centrali-Americana Insecta, Lepidoptera-Rhopalocera

TEXAS BUTTERFLY INFORMATION:

Butterflies of Texas-County Checklists-MSU Site

Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail & Butterfly Sites-Lower Texas Coast (LRGV)

Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail & Butterfly Sites-Central Texas Coast (CTC)

Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail & Butterfly Sites-Upper Texas Coast (UTC)

Great Texas Wildlife Trail & Butterfly Sites-Prairies and Pineywoods Wildlife Trail (East)

Great Texas Wildlife Trail & Butterfly Sites-Prairies and Pineywoods Wildlife Trail (West)

Great Texas Wildlife Trails & Butterfly Sites-Heart of Texas (West)

Great Texas Wildlife Trails & Butterfly Sites-Panhandle Plains

Austin Butterfly Forum

Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society

Butterfly Enthusiasts of Southeast Texas (Houston)

Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.

OTHER NORTH AMERICAN BUTTERFLY SITES:

Butterflies of America

Butterflies and Moths of North America (MSU site)

The International Lepidoptera Survey (TILS)

North American Butterfly Association (NABA)

Caterpillar Host Plants Database

Electronic Resources on Lepidoptera

Butterfly Anatomy Glossary

Learn About Butterflies

"Butterflies of North America", by William H. Edwards, 1868-1872 Online

International Association of Butterfly Exhibitions

American Museum of Natural History's Butterfly Conservatory

Butterflies of Canada

Utah Lepidopterists' Society

Oregon and Washington Butterfly Photos (Will cook's Site)

Eastern Washington Butterflies (Fred Bentler's Site)

Florida Butterfly Photos (Nelson Dobbs' Site)

Georgia Butterfly Photos (Nelson Dobb's Site)

Georgia Lepidoptera (James K. Adams' Site)

Butterflies of Georgia (Mike Chapman's Site)

Butterflies of Southeast Arizona

Butterflies of North Carolina (Jeff Pippen's Site)

North Carolina Butterfly Photos (Will Cook's Site)

Massachusetts Moth and Butterfly Caterpillar Photos (Sam Jaffe's Site)

California Butterflies (Art Shapiro's Site)

Butterflies of Wisconsin (Mike Reese's site)

Excellent Monarch Info (Monica Maeckle's Texas Butterfly Ranch)

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NORTH AMERICAN MOTH INFORMATION SITES:

Butterflies and Moths of North America (MSU site)

Silk Moths of South Texas (Bill Oehlke's Site)

Mexico and Central America Moth Database (D. H. Janzen's Site)

Sphingidae and Saturniidae of Sonora, Mexico

Sphingidae of the United States (Bill Oehlke's Site)

Catocala Website (Bill Oehlke's Site)

Moth Photographers Group (Miss St. Univ. Site)

Canada Moths (Lynn Scott's Site)

Moths of Canada (CBIF Site)

Web Images of North American Moth Species (John Snyder/Furman Univ.)

Moths of Southeastern Arizona (Bruce Walsh's Site)

Georgia Lepidoptera (James K. Adams' Site)

Dave Czaplak's Moth Photos

SOCIETIES AND ORGANIZATIONS:

The Lepidopterists' Society

Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society

The Southern Lepidopterists' Society

North American Butterfly Association (NABA)

Monarch Watch

Monarch Health

Monarch Larva Monitoring Project

Journey North (Monarch Migration Mapping)

The Butterfly Conservation Initiative (BFCI)

Butterfly Conservation (United Kingdom site)

Association for Tropical Lepidoptera

CHAT GROUPS ON THE WWW:

"NABA-CHAT" (chat group) Reference Page

"NABA-CHAT" (chat group) Archives

"TX-BUTTERFLY" (chat group) Reference Page

"TX-BUTTERFLY" (chat group) Archives

"TILS-leps-talk" (chat group) Reference Page

"DesertLeps" (chat group) Reference Page

"OV-Leps" (chat group) Reference Page

"TILS-moth-rah" (chat group) Reference Page

"TX-ENTO" (chat group) Reference Page

The Butterfly Digest (NA butterfly chatgroups digest)

Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.

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