Edison, Ford Winter Estates releases butterfly count results
For the third year in a row, Edison and Ford Winter Estates participated in the North American Butterfly Association’s annual butterfly count.
Teams of butterfly spotters counted butterflies at several locations in Fort Myers, including at Edison Ford, Lakes Regional Park, Powell Creek Preserve and at nearby Rotary Park in Cape Coral.
Butterfly counts are conducted across the country and beyond to help researchers monitor butterfly population trends throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.
This year’s final tally for all butterfly species at the combined locations was 383. That number was down from the 531 counted last year, but still more than the 134 that were counted in 2017. This year revealed more variety, with 24 (not counting Statira Sulphur) species, up from 23 in 2018 and 19 in 2017.
Monarch and Gulf Fritillary butterflies were spotted by each team but the most frequently recorded species was the White Peacock. One team saw 78 of them. Viceroys were seen only at Powell Creek Preserve and Rotary Park was the only location to spot Black Swallowtail, Phaon Crescent, Pipevine Swallowtail and Common Buckeye. The team at Edison Ford believe it spotted a Statira Sulphur and are waiting for confirmation from NABA as it is an uncommon butterfly for Southwest Florida.
With the extreme heat this year, the count was held a month earlier and the 37 counters started an hour earlier on count day. These variations could have played a role in the lower number found.
Individuals wishing to learn more about butterflies and practice their identification skills can join the SWFL Butterfly ID Practice Facebook group. For anyone wishing to create a butterfly garden, a NABA certified butterfly demonstration garden is viewable in the Garden Shoppe and nectar and host plants are available for purchase. Horticulturists are on site daily to answer any questions.