Exciting Project to Document Rare Virginia Dragonflies, Butterflies and more
This just in from Christopher S. Hobson, VA DCR – Division of Natural Heritage:
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation – Division of Natural Heritage (DCR-DNH), with funding from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is developing an atlas of the rare dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies, skippers, and moths in the state (see below).
The final product, a series of 193 species fact sheets and county occurrence maps, will be made available to the general public, naturalists and scientists on a web site. We have two years to develop the database from field work, museum records, literature citations, and with your help and input, personal communications from area naturalists.
We would appreciate your assistance in any way, particularly with the following two tasks.
First, if you are still active in the field, we ask that you keep an eye out for the species we are interested in (see list below) and report them to us?
Second, we ask that you read through the species list and send us any records that you may already have from Virginia.
In both cases, the more information you can send (date of observation, location, numbers observed, habitat conditions, etc.) the more complete our records will be. Photographic vouchering would be appreciated if possible.
If you have any population information, for example you return to a site every year, or you make observations throughout the flight season of a particular species, that would be useful information.
Written accounts would be best and could be in the form of copies of field notes, emails, letters, photos, etc. Inclusion of maps indicating the exact location and/or latitude and longitude coordinates would be most useful.
In addition to the internet product, where county level information will be made available, the information you provide about most of these species will be added to the Virginia Natural Heritage Program’s database and used to inform conservation decisions such as our environmental review process, potential land acquisition, and management plans. If you are hesitant to reveal some locations, we can indicate that the information is ‘sensitive’ and limit access to the information.
We cannot complete this project adequately without help and input from the naturalist community. I hope you will take some time to read through the list of species and consider how you might participate in this project. Please feel free to contact me [Chris Hobson] via phone (804) 371-6202 or email Chris.Hobson@dcr.virginia.gov if you have questions, or if you have information that can be useful in completing this atlas project.