Now You See Me, Now You Don’t!


The pond in the Hardwoods where the little Cabbage White Butterfly fluttered away from us.

Over the past few weeks of doing this citizen science project on butterflies and moths called BAMONA (Butterflies And Moths of North America), my group has been having trouble finding butterflies and moths. We have went outside on multiple occasions in search of finding them. My group and I have searched in the areas that are common to find both moths and butterflies. One reason I think that we have been unable to find them is the weather. Weather is a big factor. BAMONA is a project that is trying to figure out where and when do butterflies and moths appear. Kelly Lotts and Thomas Naberhaus (directors of BAMONA) set the goal  to fill scientist needs for data in access location. My group and I or trying to help achieve this goal, but the weather is always in our way.

    Every time we went outside it was either windy but warm or it had just rained and was humid. Sometimes we couldn’t even go outside because it was raining. We managed to get one good day. June 18th, 2014 is the only day we found some butterflies. After all the trying to find at least one butterfly or moth, we found two butterflies. We were walking around the ponds in the Hardwoods. As we looked near the flowers around the pond a little white butterfly fluttered (Cabbage White Butterfly, Pieris Rapae) from the flowers over our head. We watched the butterfly hoping it would land and stay still. The butterfly fluttered away so fast that we were unable to capture a picture of it. Before we  knew it the little butterfly was gone. As we kept walking around the pond  we came across this grassy area with a few scattered flowers about. Looking closely at the flowers in hope to find another butterfly. Sitting on one of the pedals was a little white butterfly. As we prepared to capture a picture the butterfly flew away. Once again we lost the butterfly. We started heading back to our class when we spotted another butterfly.  This butterfly was as small and was black(Common Sootywing, Pholisora Catullus). The butterfly was sitting on a leaf, so we quietly crept up. Trying hard not to make any noise. As soon as we got close enough to snap a picture the butterfly was gone. Defeated we went back to class.

Field journal of the pond area where the Cabbage White Butterfly flew away.

Field journal of the pond area where the Cabbage White Butterfly flew away.

We tried going back outside on another day to see if we got lucky enough to find another butterfly or even catch a glimpse of a moth. Sadly luck wasn’t on our side. I realized that on the day we found butterflies it was hot and the sun was out shining bright.  All the other days when we were outside looking for the butterflies the sun was hidden, the clouds covered the sky, it rained or was raining, and it was mildly warm with some mild to strong winds. The weather that we were experiencing those days wasn’t weather that butterflies are easy to find in. Throughout this whole project we haven’t came across not one moth. Since we observe during our class time, which is only during the day, it’s difficult to find moths. Most moths are nocturnal (active at night). Since we aren’t observing during that time of day, it causes the problem of finding them. My group and I aren’t going to let weather or time of day get in the way of helping out BAMONA in some type of way. No matter how much the butterflies and moths play the game Now You See Me, Now You Don’t.