Introduction to the Rare Species Atlas
In the past two decades, two groups of insects, the Order Lepidoptera (butterflies, skippers and moths) and Order Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), have gained increased popularity. Beginning with birdwatchers and naturalists, this swell of interest has extended to the general public, driven much by the proliferation of user-friendly field guides and on-line identification resources. Moreover, relatively affordable close-focus binoculars and easy-to-use digital cameras have also made butterfly and dragonfly watching fun and accessible. Fortunately, this has all led to a greater awareness of the roles of these organisms in plant and animal communities, and thus, a call for conservation of these insects. Indeed, many species of Lepidoptera and Odonata (sometimes referred to as 'Odonates') are considered rare at state, national and global levels.
The Virginia Wildlife Action Plan (Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. 2005) identifies 57 species of Lepidoptera and 76 species of Odonata as Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN). Nearly all of these, plus 60 additional species are tracked as "natural heritage elements" by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage (Roble, 2013).
In November 2010, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) contracted with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage (DCR-DNH) to determine the historical and current distribution of all Lepidoptera and Odonata of Virginia that are SGCN and/or tracked by DCR-DNH (i.e. rare species). This information would also be made available to the public, researchers, conservation agencies and organizations, and other interested parties via this web-accessible Atlas of Rare Butterflies, Skippers, Moths, Dragonflies & Damselflies of Virginia.
Click here for an alphabetical list of the rare species included in this web atlas.
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, 600 E. Main St., 24th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219
This atlas was compiled
by the VA Natural Heritage Program with funds provided by the VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries through a state wildlife grant
from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Last Modified: Sunday, 19 February 2017, 10:10:03 PM