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ANHC Staff Count Snails and Butterflies

Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission - Thursday, July 24, 2014

This summer, Jason Throneberry and Mike Slay of The Nature Conservancy are conducting surveys for the Foushee Cavesnail (Amnicola cora) at Foushee Cave Natural Area in Independence County. This survey is part of ongoing research about both the cave system and its inhabitants and will help to set a baseline for future inventory work. The number of cavesnails counted in June was comparable to the last four years of surveys. During this trip, the researchers were able to move further back into the cave than any previous surveys and noted cavesnails present even at the further reaches of the cave. The cave will be surveyed again in July and August, while water levels are low.

ANHC staff member Samantha Scheiman participated in the recent North American Butterfly Association butterfly counts that covered three locations, including Stone Road Glade Natural Area in Howard County. A total of 82 Diana fritillaries (Speyeria diana), Arkansas’s state butterfly as well as an ANHC tracked species, were found at the natural area. Other highlights on the Stone Road Glade NA count included Northern Metalmark (Calephelis borealis) and Reakirt's Blue (Hemiargus isola), which are not often seen in Arkansas. Butterfly photos courtesy of Bob Harden and Jeff Trahan.

Male and female Diana fritillary.

All of the information from these surveys and many others throughout the year will be compiled in the dynamic biodiversity database maintained by the ANHC’s Heritage Program. Survey results can then be used to gauge the health and stability of rare species, identify high priority sites, develop conservation measures, and guide natural area management practices.


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