History of the BAMONA Website

The Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) project is an ambitious effort to collect and provide access to quality-controlled data about butterflies and moths for the continent of North America from Panama to Canada.  The project is hosted by the Butterfly and Moth information Network and is directed by Kelly Lotts and Thomas Naberhaus. As the website states, “Our goal is to fill the needs of scientists and nature observers by bringing verified occurrence and life history data into one accessible location”.  By all measures I feel the website accomplishes this mission. 

When researching a project to work on this summer I felt the immediate feedback provided by BAMONA was a key feature in attracting me to the project.  Information and sightings have been pouring in since the mid-June which is a great motivator to add to the collection.  Also, the ease in which I am able to contribute also makes it enjoyable to be part of the project.  “Citizen scientists of all ages and experience levels participate by taking photographs of butterflies and moths and then submitting their observations”. The fact that many of us have phones with cameras makes this a very easy project to get started with including a no stress hike through a meadow or grassy area with blooming foliage. 

Additional information available on the website describes the need for this project. 

While museum collections, personal collections, published literature and paper field guides contain valuable data, these sources:

  • Are scattered
  • Can be out-of-date
  • Contain varying levels of detail
  • Can require considerable effort to access
  • Are often only known to a limited circle of lepidopterists

Footnote:  The BAMONA project is based upon work previously supported by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (1995-2003) and The USGS National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) Program (2004-2011).

More information about why collecting this data is so important will be available in future blogs.

Observational note from last night:

I saw a small butterfly this evening in a small field on my way home from work last night the specimen was perhaps 3cm long with a wingspan of about 5cm.  The field was low brush and clover mixed with wild grasses.  There are many such small patches of this type adjacent to the park where I live.  This butterfly species flies close to the ground, with a very erratic flight, appearing to collect and transfer pollen from the clover flowers. I will attempt to capture a photo of this specimen this weekend.

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