O Butterfly, Butterfly! Wherefore Art Thou Butterfly?


Illustration of the BAMONA label, including flowers, butterflies and a moth.

One minute you see them, the next minute you don’t! That fast! Those flying invertebrates you either run from, the moth, or chase after all day, the butterfly, have disappeared. But where have they gone? Oh! Oh! I see one, over there, near those flowers! Get a picture! Wait, where’d it go?!


My environmental science teacher directed students to pick a citizen science research experiment to participate in, and along with two others , I decided to do the Butterflies and Moths of Northern America or the BAMONA experiment. The idea of the experiment was to document the butterflies and moths according to the climate change. Honestly, I chose it because aside from Project Squirrel, it didn’t seem as if it would be a lot of work. I mean, I was only looking for butterflies and moths right? I thought. “How hard could it be?” I thought it was that easy too, but once I really thought about it, they are only around when you’re not looking. Think about it! Whenever there’s a nice day, chances are you’ll see a butterfly, and if you open your door or window, while the light is on at night, chances are, you’ll see a moth.

Do butterflies know when someone is watching them? Does the moth? These are some of the questions that ran across my mind while I impatiently waited for these flyers to show up. Each day we were released from class to work on our experiments, I began to lose hope in finding the butterflies. “Now you see them, now you don’t.” I began getting comfortable with the idea that I was never going to catch a butterfly or moth for that matter. Taking a decent picture was even complicated, due to how fast they fly.

I couldn’t understand why it was so hard to find the butterflies and moths, when prior to conducting the search, they had been all around. I wondered where they disappeared to.. And so fast at that. But, my teacher informed me that butterflies are always pollinating, and are high competitors of the infamous bee. These species are constantly competing for the pollen. “The early bird catches the worm” is the perfect catch phrase. They pollinate wild plants and flowers, so once one is done, they move on to the other. Maybe I’ll be still enough to one day catch one, or maybe they’ll just be too fast.