On July 30 René McMullen sent a picture of a swallowtail butterfly she took in Garfield County to her nephew (and my friend) Jon Nikkila. Jon correctly identified it as a Giant Swallowtail (Heraclides cresphontes). Upon checking the records it was discovered that this butterfly had not yet been recorded from that county. Jon noted that his aunt is not someone who knows a lot about butterflies, but knew of his interest in them and so sent him the picture. It ends up that citizen scientists don’t always have to do the footwork. Simply letting their interests be known helps them become a go-to person for their friends and relatives. So don’t keep your interests and talents a secret. Enthusiasm is contagious. Science (as well as your friends and neighbors) are counting on you.
With the addition of Garfield County this butterfly has now been found in 52 Nebraska counties.
Also of note are the recent sightings of Sleepy Oranges (Abaeis nicippe) and Marine Blues (Leptotes marina) in central Nebraska.
Hopefully the sighting of these southern strays portends an interesting late summer for Nebraska butterfly enthusiasts. Stay alert and let us know of anything you find interesting or possible county records at firstname.lastname@example.org. Records of butterflies found (and not found) for all 93 counties can be requested at that e-mail as well