North American Lepidoptera Biodiversity LLC


Check List of the Lepidoptera Recorded from Pedernales Falls State Park in Late May of 2003 and 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 present detailed Lepidoptera biodiversity inventory data for surveys conducted at Pedernales State Park (Blanco County, Texas) during 2003 and 2004.  We report 697 unique species records for 240 Lepidoptera species, including 233 species of Macrolepidoptera.


Introduction:  We conducted Lepidoptera biodiversity inventories at Pedernales Falls State Park (PFSP) in Blanco County, Texas, during late May of 2003 and 2004.  PFSP is located in central Texas in the biogeographic area known as the Hill Country.  Much of the park contains xeric oak-juniper savanna and oak-juniper woodland.  The habitat is notably different in a riparian corridor along the Pedernales River.  The riparian corridor contains oaks, juniper, hackberry, acacias, and willow, and had an abundance of wildflowers blooming at the time of our visits. 

            The Texas Hill Country occurs in central Texas and is a region of rolling hills and plateaus with fast flowing rivers (Knudson and Bordelon 2001).  Knudson and Bordelon (2001) report many Lepidoptera distributional records from the Hill Country.  However, few records are given for Pedernales Falls State Park, which to our knowledge has not been well investigated for Lepidoptera.  Most of the species we documented at PFSP are reported from the Hill Country in Knudson and Bordelon (2001), but not from PFSP.



Methods:  Our surveys were conducted with MV sheets, UV traps, type P, NP, and K bait traps, bait trails, baited felt lines, 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.


Pedernales SS Table


Voucher Specimens:  At least one voucher specimen substantiates all unique species records.  A unique species record 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 PFSP.  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 PFSP surveys, and gives the total number of species recorded in each category, including 240 species identified in all of the included families and 233 species of Macrolepidoptera.  For most of the families the table includes thorough data for all of the species recorded for the survey date/survey station combination in each column; however, in the case of Pyralidae and Oecophoridae most of the material we collected has not yet been identified and is not included in the table.  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 for each species, excluding those not included in that publication.


Pedernales Data 1


Pedernales Data 2



Discussion:  Our species list is far from a complete record of the species in the included families which occur in PFSP.  Many Hill Country species do not occur as adults during the time when we conducted surveys, and in our experience three nights of survey are not sufficient to document all of the species present at a given time of year. 

            While our 2004 survey was conducted one to two days earlier than our 2003 surveys, the phenology was actually more advanced during 2003.  Also, late May of 2004 appears to have been a below average time for numbers of nocturnal Lepidoptera in the Hill Country.   We consistently encountered greater numbers of nocturnal Lepidoptera during our 2003 Hill Country surveys than during 2004, despite cooler weather in 2003.  However, with the exception of PFSP, we visited different Hill Country localities during 2003 and 2004.  The situation was different for diurnal Lepidoptera, and we found an abundance of diurnal Rhopalocerans along the Pedernales River during both 2003 and 2004.

            Some of the most notable taxa we recorded from PFSP (based on our overall collection records for Texas) include: Systasea pulverulenta (one specimen), Strymon istapa (this is the farthest north we have found this species, and it was not uncommon here), Exelis ophiurus, Sphinx dolli (one specimen), Ogdoconta tacna, Tarachidia huita (our only specimen outside of trans-pecos Texas), Fruva pulchra, and Charadra dispulsa.  A noteworthy distribution record is a single female specimen of Pompeius verna, well west of the distribution reported in Scott (1986).  This specimen may well constitute a stray. 

            Another noteworthy species we documented was Catocala herodias, a local species we hypothesize may be restricted to xeric oak savannas.  We learned from talking to Dr. Norma Fowler from the University of Texas that the oak species in the vicinity of our MV sheet were Quercus fusiformis and Quercus buckleyi.  One or both of these species may be a host for Catocala herodias.

            We collected a series of an interesting Pygarctia in our light trap along the Pedernales River on 26 May 2004.  This phenotype is similar to Pygarctia abdominalis, a species which occurs along the Gulf from Florida to eastern Texas.  However, these specimens are markedly lighter in coloration than any P. abdominalis we have seen.  These specimens may constitute an undescribed species, although we cannot rule out geographic variation in P. abdominalis either.  This species is apparently local, as we did not encounter it at our other Hill Country survey sites or at other survey stations within PFSP.  There is also a series of this phenotype in the Texas Lepidoptera Survey collection.

            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 Pedernales Falls 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. 


Pedernales 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, and provided information (critical to planning our trips) on the phenology and distribution of Texas Lepidoptera.  In addition, Ed Knudson assisted in the identification or verification of many of the moth species we collected which are absent from the Austral Life Zone of eastern North America.  Prior to this project, our personal moth reference collections contained primarily only eastern material, consequently identifying our central and west Texas specimens would have been a monumentally more difficult task without Ed Knudson’s identification expertise and the resource of the Knudson-Bordelon collection.  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 Pedernales Falls State Park.  We thank John Peacock, who shared his experiences at PFSP with RJB prior to our survey work there.  Finally, we wish to acknowledge Norma Fowler of the University of Texas (whom we met at Pedernales Falls State Park) for talking to us about Hill Country habitats and vegetation.




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

Knudson, Edward & Charles Bordelon.  2001.  Checklist of the Lepidoptera of the Texas Hill Country.  Texas Lepidoptera Survey Publication 8.

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