Charleston Butterfly Blitz

A photo montage shows the 44 species of butterflies recorded during the recent Charleston "Butterfly Blitz." Organizers asked people to submit photos of butterflies they saw in Coles County over a one-week period.

CHARLESTON -- Participants photographed 44 different butterfly species during the recent Charleston "Butterfly Blitz" project, organizer Paul Switzer said.

A total of 60 people took part in the project to photograph butterflies seen in Coles County during the week of July 27-Aug. 4.

The participants then used a cellphone app called iNaturalist -- available at www.inaturalist.org -- to upload the photos for the project.

Switzer said the butterflies photographed included common species such as the Monarch, which was the most photographed, and the silver-spotted skipper, eastern tiger swallowtail and common buckeye.

But there were also unusual sightings, including the sleepy orange, southern dogface, and dainty sulphur, species that are typically more southern, he said.

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"I was surprised by the number of species we found during the Blitz and seeing people submit some uncommon species was really cool," Switzer said. "Our results show the power of citizen science."

The results will provide a good idea of what butterfly species are in Coles County and can be used to compare with data from future years, he added.

Photographs were taken in locations throughout the county but the most came from three "hot spots" project organizers suggested.

Those were the grounds of the Charleston Carnegie Public Library and gazebo park in downtown Charleston, the red barn area and Woodyard Conservation Area at Lake Charleston and the Cabin Pond and Possum Holler areas of Fox Ridge State Park.

Prizes were awarded to the participants who photographed the most butterflies the most species. Kathryn Bulver of Charleston was the top prize winner for most observations and species and Tom Canam, also of Charleston, was the runner-up.

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Contact Dave Fopay at (217) 238-6858. Follow him on Twitter: @FopayDave



Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.

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