Arizona Butterfly and Moth Update–November, 2013

By Garry Rogers

Arizona Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Tiger Swallowtail

Two-tailed Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata) Arizona’s butterfly.

Butterflies and moths are pollinators and they are food for other species.  I know of no harm they cause to human interests.  Nevertheless, many die from insecticide poisoning and others decline due to human removal of caterpillar host plants.  The conservation status of these familiar animals is mostly unknown.

Butterflies and moths are not thought of as social insects, but they do interact beyond their feeding and mating behavior.  I have watched two Monarch butterflies perched side by side patiently taking turns at a nectar source, and many of us have seen two or more individuals swirling around with members of their own and other species. Continue reading

Butterflies and Moths of Arizona Conservation Status

Arizona Butterfly and Moth Conservation Checklist

Click here for an earlier post with a more detailed discussion.

Butterflies, just like honey bees and other pollinators, are declining because of habitat loss and because of pesticides.  Even herbicides can be deadly.  Monarch butterflies for instance, do not lay many eggs if there aren’t any milkweeds, and people routinely eradicate milkweeds along with other plants.

According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the conservation status of most butterflies is unknown.  Our knowledge of moths is even less complete.  Most moth species have not been identified, and there is almost no information on the conservation status of Arizona moths.  The number given below for butterflies at risk of extinction is almost certainly lower than the actual number.

Butterfly and Moth Photographs

Here are a few sample photographs of butterflies and moths seen around my home in Dewey-Humboldt on the Agua Fria River in central Arizona.  If there was a common designation of knowledge below “amateur,” it would describe my expertise with the Lepodoptera.  Thus, I could not identify some of the photographed species with confidence.  This is especially true for moths.

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