Butterflies and Moths of North America

The Butterflies and Moths of North America project is ambitious effort to collect and provide access to quality-controlled data about butterflies and moths. The database and website were revamped in January 2011, and the database houses over 4,700 species accounts, more than 287,000 individual species records, and nearly 3,300 photographs. Public access to these data are provided through the website, which includes:

  • Distribution maps showing verified species occurrences
  • Photographs of adults and caterpillars
  • Species accounts including information on size, identifying characteristics, life history, flight, caterpillar hosts, adult food, habitat, species range, conservation status, and management needs
  • Species checklists for each county in the U.S., each state in Mexico, and each Canadian province.

More than 50 lepidopterists volunteer as state coordinators or provide assistance with quality control. Updates to the database are immediately reflected on the web site, so the dynamic distribution maps, checklists, and species accounts are current and different every visit. Visit the What's New page to see the most recently verified sightings, recently shared photographs, and new species accounts.

Learn more about the current project and the history of the project.

USGS Announcement

Polygonia interrogationis, copyright Bob Moul
Polygonia interrogationis
[Photograph: © Bob Moul]
Used with permission

Latest Enhancements to Butterfly and Moth Site Net Solid Gains for USGS
February 2011

For more information, contact Kelly Lotts, Jen Carlino, or Ron Sepic.
See the official USGS press release.

With the new butterfly and moth season poised to begin, Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) recently launched its re-tooled Web site at www.butterfliesandmoths.org that's now more helpful than ever to its broad range of users. The site was developed at Montana State University (MSU) under a cooperative agreement from the USGS.

BAMONA has its roots in U.S. county-level data collection efforts begun in 1995 by the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC). In 2004, the USGS-National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) and USGS-NPWRC provided funding to the Big Sky Institute at MSU to transform the existing NPWRC data into a modern, interactive, and searchable online database: a technological metamorphosis from which BAMONA has emerged. Since 2006, the USGS-NBII has continued to support and enhance the BAMONA project's ongoing data collection and dissemination. This partnership has been a natural collaboration between organizations that recognize the value of easily accessible, digitized, and reliable information to support scientific research and resource management.

With more than 280,000 verified sighting records and 3,180 images that describe 4,623 species, BAMONA is committed to collecting and providing access to quality-controlled data about butterflies and moths of North America. Its goal is to fill the needs of scientists and nature observers by bringing verified occurrence and life history data into one accessible location.

The site's latest innovations are aligned with that goal and aimed at improving BAMONA's technologies for both data collection and data dissemination. As for the former, users can now submit records - which typically include a photograph - via the site's new user submission form. Users key in such information as the address or location where they saw a butterfly or moth. Once this information is entered, the creature's location (latitude and longitude) is set automatically. Now, just a photo upload and a few mouse clicks from logged-in users replace an outdated submission process that required multiple e-mails with spreadsheet attachments.


Learn About Butterflies

Spicebush Swallowtail
Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)
[Copyright: Paul Opler]

Partner Spotlight

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The Big Sky Institute at Montana State University is an interdisciplinary center dedicated to creating, applying, and communicating science-based knowledge. The BSI Ecological Informatics Lab brings together natural sciences, geographic information systems (GIS), statistics, modeling, information technology, and computational programming with a comprehensive goal of making ecological data more useful to society. BSI partners with several NBII Nodes to disseminate information and to create value-added tools for interacting with data.

The NBII Program is administered by the Biological Informatics Program of the U.S. Geological Survey
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