Now in its third year in 2018, Nevada Bugs and Butterflies is excited to continue and expand the Nevada Butterfly Monitoring Network. This program uses an area’s residents to collect valuable data on butterfly diversity at the same site multiple times over the course of the summer. Over time, these data can be used to understand the effects of habitat change, climate fluctuations, and other influences on butterfly populations.
Nevada contains many unique and fragile habitats that are home to over 200 species of butterflies. These insects are tightly tied to the health of the landscape, relying on a diversity of plants to eat as caterpillars and for nectar as adults. Many of them have small ranges limited to specific areas of the Great Basin. However, we currently have very little standardized data regarding butterfly diversity or abundance over time for our state. The NBMN is part of the North American Butterfly Monitoring Network, filling a huge void in this type of data for the inter-mountain West.
To guide volunteers, Nevada Bugs offers annual workshops about the program basics– butterfly biology, monitoring protocols, data reporting, and local butterfly identification. In addition to the monitoring network, we’ll also touch base on a few other butterfly citizen science programs that you can participate in, including the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project and the Pieris Project. In short, it’s a comprehensive look into the ways you can help contribute to butterfly conservation in your own back yard.
This program is a great opportunity for brand new or experienced amateur naturalists out there who already love visiting your favorite spots over and over! We’ll give you all the resources you need to succeed, whether you’re familiar with butterflies or not. Each monitoring period takes as little as 30-40 minutes, and it’s a perfect way to complement your birding or botany skills. Note that you only need to attend one training session, and there's no commitment for attending.