The University of South Florida Water Institute (USFWI) recently launched a new online atlas, the latest addition to its suite of websites, until now primarily focused on plants and water resources. The Alabama Butterfly Atlas is the Institute’s first project devoted to Lepidoptera. It presents information about 156 species of true butterflies and skippers, with species accounts, photographs, and flight data. Host and nectar plants for each species are listed and are linked to another USFWI product, the Flora of Alabama online plant atlas, sponsored by the University of West Alabama and launched in 2009.
The Alabama Butterfly Atlas is designed to be attractive and easy to use and will appeal to students and teachers, gardeners, naturalists, conservationists, and green space planners. In addition to data, it also has general information about the Lepidopteran life cycle and butterfly gardening, as well as a downloadable teacher’s guide and supporting graphics. Twenty-seven photographers contributed beautiful images of butterflies in all stages of development, and more than 100 people contributed field data that were collected during butterfly counts going back as far as 1960. Atlas sponsors invite all citizen scientists to share their observations. Information about how to submit data is on the website.