Nevada Butterfly Monitoring Network

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Now in its second year in 2017, Nevada Bugs and Butterflies is excited to continue and expand the Nevada Butterfly Monitoring Network. This program uses an area’s residents to collect valuable data on butterfly diversity at the same site multiple times over the course of the summer. Over time, these data can be used to understand the effects of habitat change, climate fluctuations, and other influences on butterfly populations.

Nevada contains many unique and fragile habitats that are home to over 200 species of butterflies. These insects are tightly tied to the health of the landscape, relying on a diversity of plants to eat as caterpillars and for nectar as adults. Many of them have small ranges limited to specific areas of the Great Basin. However, we currently have very little standardized data regarding butterfly diversity or abundance over time for our state. The NBMN will be a part of the North American Butterfly Monitoring Network, filling a huge void in this type of data for the inter-mountain West.

To guide volunteers, Nevada Bugs offers annual workshops about the program basics– butterfly biology, monitoring protocols, data reporting, and local butterfly identification. In addition to the monitoring network, we’ll also touch base on a few other butterfly citizen science programs that you can participate in, including the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project and the Pieris Project. In short, it’s a comprehensive look into the ways you can help contribute to butterfly conservation in your own back yard.

This program is a great opportunity for brand new or experienced amateur naturalists out there who already love visiting your favorite spots over and over! We’ll give you all the resources you need to succeed, whether you’re familiar with butterflies or not. Each monitoring period takes as little as 30-40 minutes, and it’s a perfect way to complement your birding or botany skills.

Email Kevin ( for more information, or check back here in Spring 2018 for information on training sessions and details.


Fritillary, Speyeria sp. skipper_small Melissa blue (Lycaeides melissa) in the butterfly house

2017 Training details (archive information)

(For more information, contact us by email!)

Training times (only need to attend one): Sunday, April 30th, 1-5pm & Saturday, May 6th, 1-5pm.

We’re also offering a ‘field demonstration day’ to work more on field identification of butterflies on Subday, June 4th, location and time TBD.

Location: The University of Nevada, Reno, Museum of Natural History laboratory, Room 300G

The museum is located on the third floor of Fleischmann Agriculture, on the south end of campus at E. 9th St. & Record St. University metered spots are free on weekends, and there are several of these in the south and east Fleischmann Agriculture parking lots. There is also streetside parking available on E. 9th St. and Evans Ave.

Enter the building at the south end under the breezeway and take the stairs to the 3rd floor; museum will be on your left.

2 thoughts on “Nevada Butterfly Monitoring Network

  1. Lois Ports says:

    I would be interested in helping. I like in Elko and unfortunately can’t make either of your training dates. I am experienced in butterfly identification and have several resources for the ones I am unsure of. I have butterfly pictures from all over the Great Basin from the past 25+ years. Since 2003 they are in digital format. So I don’t know if you would want past records. Would it be feasible to send me the protocols you are using for the monitoring without my attending a workshop? I have known Katie Dean since she was a toddler and have met Neal several times. She would probably give me a good reference. I am president of the Bristlecone Audubon which covers four counties in the NE corner of the state. My husband and I are retired and spend a lot of time in the mountains of the Great Basin where he is conducting research on the land snails of the Great Basin.

    • NVBugs says:

      Thanks for your interest! We will be posting all our training materials online and would be happy to send them to you and give you any other information you might want to do a monitoring site out there, that would be amazing information to have for that part of the state! If there is enough interest with other folks out that way we could even schedule another training for out there. As for past records we should talk more- there is a database somewhere that is appropriate for them. Send me an email at kevin[at]nevadabugs[dot]org, would love to hear what you have. Thanks again!

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