North American Lepidoptera Biodiversity LLC


Check List of the Lepidoptera Recorded from Atlanta State Park (Cass County, Texas) in Early May and Early June of 2004


Macrolepidoptera Families: Thyatiridae, Drepanidae, Geometridae, Epiplemidae, Hesperiidae, Papilionidae, Pieridae, Lycaenidae, Riodinidae, Nymphalidae, Mimallonidae, Lasiocampidae, Apatelodidae, Saturniidae, Sphingidae, Notodontidae, and Noctuidae; also including: Yponomeutidae, Attevidae, Urodidae, Cossidae, Lacturidae, Zygaenidae, Megalopygidae, Limacodidae, Epipyropidae, and Thyrididae


By Hugo L. Kons Jr. & Robert J. Borth


Posted on the web 26 September 2007


This on-line publication is an exemplar of one of the localities included in an upcoming volume of the North American Journal of Lepidoptera Biodiversity.  Our current draft of this volume presents detailed Lepidoptera biodiversity inventory results for the above families of Lepidoptera from forty-six days of fieldwork in Texas and Oklahoma during 2003 and 2004.  This draft includes approximately 13,300 unique Lepidoptera records (including locality, GPS coordinates, date, elevation, habitat, and method of collection) for a minimum of 1,114 species, and 4,654 unique locality records for 32 Texas and two Oklahoma localities.  Those who would be interested in receiving e-mail notification of when this volume is published should contact the senior author at, to be placed on an e-mail notification list for NAJLB volumes.  Placement on this list constitutes no obligation to purchase any NAJLB volumes and is for notification purposes only.


Abstract:  We report detailed Lepidoptera biodiversity inventory data for targeted families covering three days of survey at Atlanta State Park in Cass County, Texas.  Surveys were conducted during early May and early June of 2004.  We report 746 unique species records for 287 species, including 275 species of Macrolepidoptera.


Introduction:  Atlanta State Park (ATSP) is located in Cass County in extreme northeastern Texas.  ATSP is located in the eastern pine-hardwood forest biogeographic region of Texas, well to the east of the transition area between the Austral and Sonoran Life Zones.  The hydrology of ATSP is variable, ranging from uplands with xeric oak-pine forest to mesic hardwood-pine forest to hydric hardwood forest corridors along streams.  The uplands also include areas of xeric oak-pine grassy savanna.  Some previous Lepidoptera survey work has been conducted at Atlanta State Park by Ed Knudson and Charles Bordelon of the Texas Lepidoptera survey. 


Methods:  Our surveys were conducted with MV sheets, UV traps, type P, NP, and K bait traps, bait trails, and diurnal collecting with nets and jars.  Follow this link for illustrations and a discussion of these survey methods.  The following table provides the dates and locations of our survey stations.  At each survey station on each survey date we attempted to document all species encountered in the included families.  Our MV sheet site was located at the interface between xeric oak-pine forest and mesic hardwood-pine forest.  We investigated the grassy oak-pine savanna with a UV trap and a bait trail.  All of the habitat types noted in the introduction were investigated with bait and diurnal surveys.  On 8 May and 4 June HLK stayed up all night monitoring the sheet and bait trails.  However, on 5 June heavy rain hit about 20 minutes after dark and we turned off our MV light at this time.  The rain continued all night at varying intensity, so other than the first 20 minutes after dark, survey the night of 5 June was limited to the unmanned UV and bait traps.


Atlanta Survey Stations



Voucher Specimens:  At least one voucher specimen substantiates all unique species records.  A unique species record (USR) is the collection of one or more specimens of a species from one survey station on one survey date.  Voucher specimens are currently in the personal research collections of the authors or in the Milwaukee Public Museum.


Results:  The following table, taken from a draft of our upcoming NAJLB volume on Texas and Oklahoma Lepidoptera, presents the detailed Lepidoptera biodiversity inventory data for the included families at ATSP.  The columns of this table can be crossed referenced with the above table to get the detailed information for each survey station.  The “USR” column gives the number of unique species records for each species.  The total column has the cells checked for all of the species we recorded among our Atlanta State Park surveys.  This column also gives the total number of species recorded in each category, including 297 species in all of the included families and 275 species of Macrolepidoptera.  The table contains 746 unique species records.  Note that the table is presented as six images, three images long by two images wide.  Numbers to the left of the species names correspond to the Hodges et al. (1983) check list, and serve as a citation for the author and date of description.

















Discussion:  Several notable Lepidoptera records were obtained from our Atlanta State Park surveys, including some interesting material in taxonomically problematic groups with undescribed species.  Two especially notable Zale specimens were collected.  One is a phenotype for which we have seen a couple other specimens from South Carolina and Georgia.  It is one of several species going under the name submediana, and we are tentatively calling it Zale submediana complex species 3.  While we are not sure which of the submediana complex species is the real submediana, the poorly known southeast species we recorded from Atlanta State Park is probably undescribed.  The other Zale specimen is unlike any other specimen HLK has examined.  It is closest in maculation to Zale obliqua, but is well outside the range of variation HLK has seen in that species.  It is possible this phenotype could be a new species, or perhaps it could be an aberration of Z. obliqua.  We tentatively refer to it as Zale species near obliqua 2.  HLK has not yet studied the genitalia of this specimen.  Other notable conifer associated Zale we recorded from Atlanta State Park include Zale confusa and one specimen of Zale curema.

            Another taxonomically interesting specimen we collected at Atlanta State Park is in the genus Sigela.  This specimen is discussed and illustrated in the Hypenodinae section of our On Line Guide to the Lepidoptera of Northern Florida.

            Oxycilla malaca is a notable record.  We collected two worn specimens of this species.  The only other locality where we have collected this species among the Kons-Borth Lepidoptera survey sites is Tombigbee State Park in Lee County, Mississippi.  We have seen few specimens of this species in other collections and we do not know why it is so infrequently encountered.

            Kons and Borth (2006) provide habitat data and analyses for north Florida Lepidoptera records, which we used to derive hypotheses of habitat dependency for north Florida Lepidoptera species.  Our east Texas survey data is generally very consistent with our hypotheses of habitat dependency based on Florida records, and it would appear that habitat requirements for many species that occur in both northern Florida and eastern Texas are similar in both areas.  If we apply our Florida habitat dependency hypotheses to the species we recorded from Atlanta State Park, the majority of the Atlanta State Park species are habitat generalists, with some species recorded which are dependent on either hardwood-pine forest or xeric oak-pine habitats.  At all of our north Florida study sites, including those with many habitat types, the sizeable majority of the Macrolepidoptera species recorded from any site were habitat generalists (Kons and Borth 2006).  We did not record any species at Atlanta State Park which in Florida appear to be dependent on xeric oak-pine savannas.  The oak-pine savanna at Atlanta State Park is notably different from oak-pine savannas at our Florida sites.  The Atlanta State Park savanna is much grassier, and lacks the turkey oaks which often dominate these habitats in Florida.  At Atlanta State Park we recorded only one specimen of one of the species (Xanthopastis timasis) which we proposed as a candidate for wetlands dependency in northern Florida.  We have also reared this species on spider lily in southern Indiana.  The hydric hardwood forest habitat was poorly covered by our Atlanta State Park surveys.  This habitat was a fair distance from our MV sheet and light traps, and was investigated only diurnally and with a bait trail.

            There does not appear to be a steep north to south gradient of change in the Macrolepidoptera fauna between the latitude of Atlanta State Park and southeastern Texas, at least with respect to the portion of the fauna present in the adult stage between early May and early June.  In other words, at most a small fraction of the species we recorded from Atlanta State Park do not range farther south to southeastern Texas.  Bordelon and Knudson (1999) present a detailed Lepidoptera check list for southeast Texas including Polk, Tyler, Jasper, Newton, Liberty, Hardin, Chambers, Jefferson, and Orange Counties.  90.2% (248) of the Macrolepidoptera species we recorded from Atlanta State Park are listed from southeast Texas by Bordelon and Knudson (1999) and/or were recorded from our surveys in Jasper and Jefferson Counties.  Another 17 of the Macrolepidoptera species we recorded from Atlanta State Park have been recorded by our Florida surveys at comparable latitudes to southeast Texas, and we suspect these species will eventually be recorded from the counties covered in Bordelon and Knudson (1999) as well, with the possible exception of Callosamia angulifera.  We have recorded some of these species from east Texas Counties south of Atlanta State Park as well. 

            Only ten (3.6%) of the Macrolepidoptera species we recorded from Atlanta State Park are candidates for being near the southern edge of their range.  These are species not reported from southeast Texas by Bordelon and Knudson (1999), not recorded from our surveys in southeast Texas, and not recorded from our surveys in northern Florida.  Consequently, we hypothesize that these species may not range as far south as southeast Texas, and that the southern limit of their range may be between Atlanta State Park and the northern borders of Polk, Tyler, Jasper, and Newton Counties.  These species are: Synchlora aerata, Enodia anthedon, Grammia figurata, Idia majoralis, Zanclognatha jacchusalis, Oxycilla malaca, Zale species near obliqa 2, Zale submediana complex species 3, Polia detracta, and Abagrotis alternata.  We cannot hypothesize which species might be near the northern limit of their range, because to our knowledge there are no detailed Macrolepidoptera check lists available for adjacent areas of Arkansas or Oklahoma.

            There are many Lepidoptera species which occur in eastern Texas which are not present in the adult stage from early May to early June. Consequently, our check list for Atlanta State Park is far from a thorough list of all the species which occur in the park in the included families. 

            The following figure shows what numbers of Macrolepidoptera species were recorded from different numbers of unique species records, and what percentage of Macrolepidoptera species were recorded from n or fewer unique species records among our Atlanta State Park surveys.  The data in the below figure was limited to unique species records from nocturnal surveys.  It is interesting to compare these patterns among the various locations we have conducted Lepidoptera biodiversity blitzes, as values of the percentage of species recorded from n or fewer unique species records may be useful in estimating how thorough survey work was for documenting those species present as adults during the times surveys were conducted.    This issue will be addressed in detail in future NAJLB volumes. 


Atlanta USR Figure


Acknowledgments:  We are especially grateful to Ed Knudson and Charles Bordelon, who founded their own organization devoted to the study of Texas Lepidoptera, the Texas Lepidoptera Survey.  They hosted us for three visits to their exceptional Texas Lepidoptera collection, recommended many of our Texas study sites including Atlanta State Park, and provided information (critical to planning our trips) on the phenology and distribution of Texas Lepidoptera.  We are grateful to David Riskind who issued us a scientific collecting permit (number 21-03) covering all Texas State Parks, which provided us with many of our Texas study sites.  We received excellent cooperation at many of the state parks we visited, including Atlanta State Park.  David Wahl and the American Entomological Institute provided valuable infrastructural support, as well as a flexible work schedule for HLK.  Hugo & Sharon Kons, Sr. assisted with building light and bait traps and provided other support.  Several people assisted with acquiring chemicals important to our research, including Niklaus Hostettler, Jim Lloyd, and Robert Robbins. 





Bordelon, Charles and Ed Knudson.  1999.  Checklist of the Lepidoptera of the Big Thicket National Preserve Texas.  Texas       Lepidoptera Survey Publication 2.

Hodges, Ronald W. et. al.  1983.  Check List of the Lepidoptera of America North of Mexico.  Great Britian, University Press, Cambridge.

Kons, Hugo L. Jr. and Robert J. Borth.  2006.  Contributions to a study of the diversity, distribution, habitat association, and phenology of     the Lepidoptera of Northern Florida.  North American Journal of Lepidoptera Biodiversity.  Volume I: 1-231.

Kons, Hugo L. Jr. and Robert J. Borth.  2007.  Lepidoptera Survey Methods Utilized in North American Journal of Lepidoptera Biodiversity Publications.

Kons, Hugo L. Jr. and Robert J. Borth.  2007.  On Line Guide to the Noctuidae: Hypenodinae of Northern Florida.  Link to Web Page.