Showing posts with label butterflies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label butterflies. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Butterflies and Moths Of North America (BAMONA) Receives MARS Award

The Butterflies and Moths Of North America (BAMONA) Web site was recently selected as one of 25 recipients of the MARS Best Free Reference Web Sites award for 2011. Other noteworthy recipients include Google Translator, WikiLeaks, The ICUN Red List of Threatened Species, and the Public Library of Science (PLOS).

Voted for by member librarians from around the United States, the BAMONA site is to be recognized by MARS this year as an outstanding site for reference information and is included in the list of MARS Best Free Reference Web Sites of 2011MARS is the "MARS: Emerging Technologies in Reference" section of the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association (ALA).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Internet Catches Updated Butterfly and Moth Website

Why should we care about butterflies and moths? Thanks to butterflies, bees, birds, and other animal pollinators, the world's flowering plants are able to reproduce and bear fruit. That very basic capability is at the root of many of the foods we eat. And, not least, pollination adds to the beauty we see around us.

Yet today, there is evidence of alarming pollinator population declines worldwide. Fortunately, science investigators of this crucial issue can use data collected and organized in the Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) database to monitor the health of our butterfly and moth population.

Backed by more than 287,000 verified sighting records and 3,239 images that describe 4,638 species, BAMONA is committed to collecting and providing access to quality-controlled data about butterflies and moths of North America. Dedicated volunteer coordinators, including national and internationally recognized Lepidoptera experts, verify each record. The goal is to fill the needs of scientists and nature observers by bringing verified occurrence and life history data into one accessible location.

To serve its broad range of users even better, BAMONA recently launched its re-tooled website. The site was developed at Montana State University (MSU) under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) Network.

BAMONA’s latest innovations are aimed at improving technologies for both data collection and data dissemination. Users can now submit records – which typically include a photograph – via the site’s new user submission form, replacing an outdated submission process that required multiple e-mails with spreadsheet attachments.  As for data dissemination, verified records are now immediately available on the site’s home page. New, interactive Google-based maps enable the display of any verified sighting, including Canadian locations. Visitors can now zoom in or out and click on dots pin-pointing sighting locations on interactive maps, and see the details of each sighting record. All these features were not available previously.

For more information, go to

(Photo: The Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis).  Photographer, Bob Moul, 2007.  Courtesy of the BAMONA web site).

Friday, September 10, 2010

NBII Acting in Cupid’s Service

The NBII is typically presented as a broad, collaborative program to provide increased access to data and information on the nation’s biological resources. We often add that resource managers, scientists, educators, and the general public use the NBII to answer a wide range of questions related to the management, use, or conservation of this nation’s biological resources.

True enough. But when we talk about the general public using the NBII, occasionally the motivation has more to do with biological drives than biological resources (which is maybe not so surprising since without bio­logical drives there wouldn’t be any biological resources).

That said, consider two perspec­tives on the topic of butterflies, one of many NBII specialties:

  • The first is from our NBII Pollina­tors Web site, which features a focus on North American butterflies and moths, members of the order Lepidoptera.
  • The second is from country music legend and poet Dolly Parton, who wrote: “Love is like a butterfly, as soft and gentle as a sigh, the multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings.”

So where’s the connection? Actu­ally, it was brought to our attention by an alert aunt and wedding planner who was cruising our butterflies and moths site not so long ago and recalled to us that she wanted to have a butterfly-themed wedding for her niece. She and her niece were planning the details and scouring the net for resources that would ensure this theme was (I) do-able. It seems they needed reliable information on a wide variety of but­terfly species, and the NBII site was among the most engaging they visited.

“Thanks for the [butterfly] re­sources you provided,” our supportive inquirer said. “They have really helped my niece out.”

Elizabeth Sellers, Manager of the NBII Pollinators Project, thanked the writer for her kind words and added that our site was just another example of the NBII’s longstanding theme of Building Knowledge Through Partner­ships: “Our Butterflies and Moths Web page was produced through our part­nership with the Ecological Society of America (ESA) and with input from members of the North American Pollinator Protection Cam­paign .”

Disclosures aside, while resource managers turn to our site most often seeking resources to help build and maintain healthy ecosystems, some­times we can also provide valuable assistance to those more attuned to building healthy, long-term relation­ships. In any event, we’re glad to be of service to all — including Cupid!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Enhancements Underway for Butterflies and Moths of North America Database

Click to view larger: Ailanthus webworm 
moth on Goldenrod flowersAs part of a multi-Node effort supported by the NBII in 2009, the Big Sky Institute (BSI) continues to enhance the national Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) database. Most of the data has been transferred to the new database for the Drupal-based Web site that allows for listing of species information by family, subfamily, etc. Additional views are being developed including for images, which will allow users to sort images by family. In the geographic area, the benefits of updating the site include the addition of a filter box for displaying species information by states/provinces; by geographic area or by subfamily or other user specified parameters. The new Web site will be launched in Fall 2010. For current information, go to

(Photo: Ailanthus webworm moth (Atteva punctella) on Goldenrod (Solidago sp.) flowersCredit: © 2008 Elizabeth A. Sellers, Courtesy of

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Butterflies and Moths of North America Presented at Lepidopterists’ Society

The Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) project is supported through a partnership among the USGS National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), the Big Sky Institute at Montana State University, and the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center.  NBII Partner Kelly Lotts will present a poster and oral presentation about this project at the 59th Annual Meeting of the Lepidopterists' Society (LepSoc 2010), July 8-11, 2010 in Leavenworth, WA.  What began as two independent repositories of butterfly and moth county records compiled for lepidopterists, BAMONA has grown into a vast citizen science project with hundreds of volunteers.  As of May, the BAMONA Web site provided access to a database of more than 275,000 butterfly and moth occurrence records, over 3,000 photographs, and more than 4,500 species pages.  Quality-controlled data contributed by lepidopterists and citizen scientists from across the United States and Mexico are publicly available via checklists and maps. By fall, the BAMONA project will take another big leap when a new version of the Web site is launched to the public.  This improved BAMONA site will include Canadian data, maps displaying point data and recent submissions, and a new online, streamlined submission/review process.  In addition, a Web Mapping Service of the BAMONA data will be published so that interested scientists can utilize these data in mapping applications.  At LepSoc 2010, Ms. Lotts will strengthen existing collaborations with the Lepidopterists' Society, seek new partnerships with amateur and professional lepidopterists, and promote public participation and use of this international dataset.

Photo: Echo Azure (Celastrina echo).  Photo by © Kelly Lotts.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Updates from the Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) Now Available for the Southwest

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) is an interactive, searchable, and updateable Web-enabled database of butterfly and moth records. The database houses over 270,000 records and more than 4,500 species. The Live Maps and Data page of Southwest Information Node (SWIN) now provides updates for the southwest region via RSS feed.

(Photo: Viceroy butterfly (Limenitis archippus) on goldenrod flower. © 2009 Bruce Avera Hunter, , from the NBII LIFE gallery).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Offers Additional Butterfly Data

Working with butterfly specialists nationwide, the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) (a vital USGS-NBII component) has recently made a large quantity of new information on North American butterflies available. More than 3,600 scientific names and 1,000 common names for more than 800 species and 1,600 subspecies are now included. The comprehensive list contains both scientific and common names with associated data for this important group that includes numerous pollinators and endangered species as well as some invasive species. For more information, visit the ITIS website.

(Photo: A monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) feeding on a thistle flower. Photo Credit: Elizabeth A. Sellers/

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Plans to Enhance BAMONA Spatially

In addition to ongoing data collection and maintenance this coming year, the Big Sky Institute plans to convert the Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) database into a geospatial database, develop a Web mapping service, and develop a visualization capability for the BAMONA data set that will support WMS, KML, and/or other accepted standards. The mapping service will be interoperable with NBII Web sites and species page mashups, the USGS National Map Viewer, Google Earth, and other NBII partners/projects such as the Cactus Moth Monitoring and Detection Network that is coordinated by the Invasive Species Information Node (ISIN) partner John Madsen with the Mississippi State University GeoSystems Research Institute. This project is being supported by multiple NBII nodes including Mountain Prairie, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and Pacific Basin. The outcome will provide content for regional nodes across the NBII network.

For a list of recent updates, visit the BAMONA blog.

(Photo: Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) website screen image)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Blog and RSS Feed Launched for Butterflies and Moths of North America Database

The Butterflies and Moths of North America Database (BAMONA) launched the BAMONA Blog in March 2009. This blog provides real time updates about entries to the database such as the addition of new photographs, new records, and new species accounts. Blog posts are tagged with the type of update, the coordinator’s name, and geographic location. Posts can be sorted by these tags, so users can view a sub-set of posts that are relevant to them. The blog has a main RSS feed and individual feeds for each tag. The Mountain Prairie Information Node (MPIN) and the NBII Pollinators Web sites are consuming the main BAMONA Blog RSS. Other NBII Nodes and Projects are welcome to add the RSS feed to their site.  Click here to see an example of the blog feed on the Mountain Prairie Information Node website.

(Photo: Gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) in ironweed.  Photo used with permission from © Vicki DeLoach/Vicki's Nature, on Flickr.)