North American Lepidoptera Biodiversity LLC





Hugo L. Kons Jr.


A Summarization of Outagamie County, WI Butterfly Records based on Collected Voucher Specimens


Updated 1998




††††††††††† To date, 89 species of butterflies and skippers have been collected in Outagamie County, Wisconsin.Sixty-one species appear to be residents of the county, as evidenced by consistently being found in certain localities without highly erratic variation in first date of recorded occurrence from year to year.I regard four species (Hesperia sassucus, Euphyes bimacula, Colias interior, and Incisalia henrici) as dispersers to the localities where they have been collected.Outagamie County is potentially within the known geographic range of these species; however, only single specimens have turned up in localities where intensive collecting was done during their flight season over a number of years.Eleven species are unusual strays for Outagamie County and no evidence has been found to suggest they ever breed in the county.All these taxa are resident farther south except for Speyeria atlantis which occurs in counties north and west of Outagamie County.Danaus plexippus is an annual migrant, which breeds each summer in the county but migrates southward each fall.Colias eurytheme appears to be migratory to the county as well, and while it has been collected there every season from 1988-1995, the dates of first occurrence vary considerably from year to year.At least three other species apparently migrate into the county from the south and establish temporary breeding populations during some seasons: Pholisora cattulus, Vanessa cardui,and Junonia coenia.Abundance of these three species and their flight season vary greatly in succesive seasons, and P. cattulus and J. coenia are more ephemeral, not having been recorded in the county during several years despite intensive survey work.No residential, migratory, or disperser status was assigned to seven species due to insufficient information.In addition to a checklist for Outagamie County, I present species lists for seven localities, plus some additional species records for other localities.Three localities (Mosquito Hill Nature Center, Fallen Timbers Environmental Center, and an urban Appleton yard) were surveyed on numerous dates throughout the time of year when butterflies were active over a period of several years.




††††††††††† The Check List of the Butterflies of Outagamie County, Wisconsin and accompanying text is intended summarize butterfly collection records for Outagamie County, including available information on status, habitat, flight season, distribution, and abundance of the various species.The checklist provides a list of the documented diversity and composition of Outagamie Countyís known butterfly fauna.The basis for most of the information included herein is the authorís personal collection and accompanying data base, with exceptions acknowledged below.††††† The authorís survey work in Outagamie County occurred primarily from 1988-1995, with more limited collecting done during 1988, none during the summer of 1994, and very little during 1996.To the authorís knowledge, there are few voucher specimens collected in the county from years prior to this period; however, a few specimens used in compiling this document were collected by the author from 1981-1987.

††††††††††† Outagamie County, Wisconsin, is located along the eastern tension zone in Wisconsin, an area of transition between habitat types of the Transition Life Zone to the south and Canadian Life Zone to the north (Ebner 1970).While no species are restricted to the tension zone habitats, some species collected in Outagamie County are to my knowledge at or near the southern or northern limits of their documented range in eastern Wisconsin.Examples of species near the southern limits of their eastern WI range (note in the checklist that the residential status of several of them is unclear) include: Carterocephalus palemon, Amblyscirtes hegon, Amblyscirtes vialis, Papilio canadensis, and Phyciodes batesii.Some of these species may extend their range farther south along lake Michigan where the climate is cooler than inland (I have a record of C. palemon from the Cedarburg Bog near the edge of Lake Michigan in Ozaukee County). Examples of species potentially at their northern range limit include Poanes massasoit and Satyrium caryaevorum.The two described "subspecies" (which in my view are a single taxon with a phenotypic blend zone) Basilarchia arthemis astyanax and Basilarchia arthemis arthemis occur sympatrically in Outagamie County, and intermediate forms may be more numerous than nominate examples of either phenotype.

††††††††††† Habitats occurring in Outagamie County which have been collected for butterflies include various types of dry and wet forests, sedge meadow, open fields and meadows with varying degrees of disturbance and floral diversity, a small remnant area with some barrens/prairie vegetation, prairie planting, and urban habitats.Examples of all these habitats (except urban areas) may be found between the two primary survey localities: Fallen Timbers Environmental Center and Mosquito Hill Nature Center.Sizable examples of natural barrens/prairie, bog (with the exception of one July 1991 collecting day), or fen habitats accessible to collecting were not located in the county for this study.If such habitats occur in the county, there is potential for adding additional species to the county list from these habitats (see the list of hypothetical species at the end of the checklist).


Materials & Methods


††††††††††† Data in this paper is based exclusively on collected voucher specimens.Voucher specimens are currently spread, pinned, or in papered condition,Collecting was done by netting specimens in the field, by the use of baiting techniques including inverted cone traps, minnow traps, and a bait trail, and to a much lesser extent by rearing larvae collected in the field.Voucher specimens used in producing this check list are retained in the authorís personal research collection or in the collections of the other individuals who contributed data.Some of the authorís duplicate specimens have also been forwarded to the Milwaukee Public Museum.




††††††††††† Eighty-nine species of butterflies have been recorded from Outagamie County, Wisconsin, 61 of which are hypothesized to be permanent residents of at least one locality within the county.Eleven species are hypothesized to be unusual strays, five are designated as migrants (annual or ephemeral), and four are probably dispersers to the localities where they have been collected (Table 1).Table 1 also includes information on flight season, habitat association, a subjective abundance rating, and a designation of which species appear to be particular to specialized habitats and which are widespread generalists.The species which have been recorded from seven Outagamie County localities are also presented in Table 1.The check list with only the species names is presented at the end of this document.

††††††††††† Monthly species totals based on the collective pooling of data from Outagamie County specimens are presented for each family and for all butterfly families combined in Table 2 and Figure 1.The overall diversity curve shows a single diversity peak in July, with a steep increase from May to June and a steep decrease between August and October.This same general pattern is reflected for the families Nymphalidae and Lycaenidae; however, Hesperiidae diversity was found to be identical from June to July.


Key to Symbols/Explanation of Terminology in the Checklist


Status:This column gives a hypothesis based on currently available information as to whether a particular species is a resident of the county or a stray, migrant, or disperser.An explanation of these terms and the general criteria used to assign a species to a category appear below.Symbols under the Localities Column give a speciesí status at a particular locality, whereas those under the Status Column refer to Outagamie County as a whole.It is possible that new information will alter current perceptions of status for some species, and that status could change over time for some species due to habitat loss or colonization.


R††††††††† Resident: Indicates the presence of a permanent breeding population able to persist under current environmental conditions.At least one life stage is present throughout the year.Criteria used to assign resident status include finding a species persistently without highly erratic changes in the date of first recorded occurrence of adults from year to year.The mere presence of immature stages is not evidence of resident status since regular and ephemeral migrants may establish breeding populations.

††††††††††† (HA): Hibernates in adult stage.

††††††††††† (temp): Temporary resident which may be able to withstand the winter only during some years.

††††††††††† (prob): Probably of resident status, but the supporting evidence is relatively weaker.


D†††††††† Disperser: In this document I distinguish dispersers from migrants and strays by assigning disperser status to specimens collected potentially within their breeding range but outside their habitat of origin.Knowledge of butterfly records for surrounding areas was used to determine which species are potentially within their breeding range.This information was obtained from the authorís fieldwork elsewhere in Wisconsin, correspondence with WI lepidopterist Robert J. Borth, Ebner (1970), and examination of specimens in institutional collections, particularly the Milwaukee Public Museum and University of WI-Stevens Point.Criteria used assign disperser status include collecting a species in a locality potentially within its breeding range (as determined by the presence of resident populations in nearby counties or localities), but despite intensive survey during its flight season, not finding it persistently.Note that while individuals of a species which are residents of Outagamie County may disperse into localities or habitats which do not support populations, disperser status is only assigned to a species for the county or for a locality if there are no known areas within the county or locality, respectively, which support populations of that species.

††††††††††† Two important aspects of dispersal are dispersal ability (the distance a species is able to disperse) and the amount of dispersal (how often/how many individuals in a population disperse from their habitat of origin).For some populations of a species, the amount of dispersal may increase or dispersal may only be observed to occur during years of especially high abundance.The author hypothesizes this observation may be a result of selective pressures only favoring the dispersal strategy for some individuals during times of especially high intraspecific competition.


M†††††††† Migrant: A species that can not survive in the county permanently, but may migrate into the county and establish temporary breeding populations.Evidence of breeding populations is obtained by having collected the larvae and/or numbers of adults in fresh condition.In contrast to resident species, the flight season dates for most migrants are erratic and vary greatly between seasons.An exception is Danaus plexippus; however, the migratory status of this species has been well established.

††††††††††† (spor): Sporadic migrant of ephemeral occurrence.Not present in the county during some seasons.

††††††††††† (reg): Regular migrant to the county appearing annually in numbers.


S††††††††† Stray: A species found outside its breeding range for which there is no evidence of it ever establishing even temporary breeding populations.Strays are usually collected as isolated occurrences and most have been found very few times within the county.

††††††††††† (S): Stray from south of the county.

††††††††††† (N): Stray from north of the county.


X†††††††† Used in the Localities Column to indicate a species has been collected in that locality without making an inference about its status there.


@†††††††† Some specimens were collected prior to 1987, but no individuals have been collected in recent years.


Abundance:While Lepidoptera abundance designations in this and other sources tend to be highly subjective, some mention of abundance is often desired despite the categorizations not being assigned in a rigorous scientific manner.In this check list, abundance designations refer to how relatively numerous individuals of a species are where that species is found.This categorization is to be distinguished from how local and restricted in habitat a species is.In the authorís opinion, the ambiguous and inconsistent use of terms such as ďrareĒ to mean either infrequently encountered or local is a source of much confusion and misconception.

††††††††††† The following scale is based on qualitative generalization.The number of individuals of a species encountered in the field varies with a wide variety of factors in addition to relative population levels.Examples of such factors include temperature, amount of sun, wind, time of year (species are found in different abundances at different points in their flight season), accessibility of habitat, and experience of the collector.Abundance may vary between broods and between seasons including for resident species.Due to environmental conditions and predation/parasite pressures, conditions during some years may be unusually favorable or unfavorable for a species, resulting in fluctuations in abundance.Also, it has been the authorís impression that for some species, unusually hot years may compress flight seasons and result in relatively higher numbers of adults being found at a given time, whereas unusually cool seasons may lengthen flight seasons and result in relatively lower numbers of adults being found during any given time.This could be due to longer periods of emergence during a cool year, with a lower percentage of individuals in the population in the adult stage at any one time.

††††††††††† How many individuals of each species have been collected within the county has not been tallied, and would not be representative of abundance, as distinctive widespread species are often collected in low numbers despite them being relatively common.Also, note that species may be encountered in abundances outside the range given; for example, any species may be rare at the extreme end of its flight season.Furthermore, note that relative abundance designations may be influenced by differences in the relative difficulty of detecting different species, as opposed to actual relative abundances in nature.

††††††††††† The following is a scale proceeding from most numerous to least numerous.These subjectivecategories are broad generalizations and have no clearly defined limits.


A†††††††† Abundant: Encountered in very large numbers, perceived to be among the most

numerous species.


C††††††††† Common: Encountered frequently in high numbers.


FC††††††† Fairly Common: Encountered frequently in fairly high numbers, but relatively somewhat lower than the above.


NU†††††† Not Uncommon:Intermediate between fairly common and uncommon.


U†††††††† Uncommon:Often found with extensive effort, but in low numbers.


R††††††††† Rare: Encountered infrequently and few individuals are found when the species is uncovered.


VR†††††† Very Rare: Few county records exist; unlikely to be found even with intensive survey during the appropriate flight season in the area(s) where a species has been found.


ER†††††† Extremely Rare:Highly unusual for any individuals to be found in this part of the state (applies to strays far from their normal range).One or very few county records exist.


*††††††††† Only one or two specimens have been collected in the county (appears to the left of the scientific name rather than in the abundance column).


Distribution:This column represents another subjective designation, and qualitatively generalizes how widely or locally distributed species have been found to be within the county (including within the study sites), which is largely influenced by degree of habitat restriction (although dispersal ability and frequency may influence this as well).Note that there is variation among the species assigned to each category in how local or widespread they are, and the categories do not have precise boundaries.


L††††††††† Local in occurrence.Relatively restricted in habitat compared to other species.Obligates of specialized habitats are assigned to this category (the specialized habitats

are designated in the habitat column).


L#††††††† A local species which has occasionally been found outside its normal habitat, presumably as a disperser.This is used sparingly for cases where numerous records †† exist for a species from a specialized habitat where it is found consistently, but a few records were obtained in other areas or habitats where the species could not be found consistently.


(L)†††††† Used for species of dubious resident status but which are local if they are residents.


G†††††††† Of widespread occurrence in the county, often found in a variety of habitats and/or associated with a widely occurring habitat.


I†††††††††† An intermediate category between ďlocalĒ and ďwidespreadĒ.


LM†††††† A migratory species which could occur in many areas, but may become most numerous in a local area which can support a temporary population or has some characteristics in common with the habitat of origin.


*††††††††† Degree of habitat restriction does not apply because a species is not known to establish breeding populations in the county.


Flight Season: This column objectively indicates the times of year each species has been collected in the adult stage.Flight season may vary from year to year, and species may or may not have notably advanced or delayed flights during hotter or cooler years, respectively.Therefore, during a given season a species may be found during only a subset of the flight times indicated.


E††††††††† Early [Month]: Dates 1-10 in a month.

M†††††††† Mid [Month]: Dates 11-20 in a month.

L††††††††† Late [Month]: Dates 21-31 in a month


Habitat:This column lists the habitat types of most frequent occurrence of adults for each species based on field observations and the associated voucher specimens.True habitat requirements include the habitat requirements of both adult and immature stages; however, the vast majority of this check list is produced from data on adults.Habitats frequented by adults may or may not be breeding habitat, as adults may move out of breeding habitat in numbers to obtain nectar or moisture or for other purposes.Distinctions between many habitat types are not discrete, and once again the habitat information listed is a generalization.For example, there are continuums of transition between forested and open habitats and between wet and dry habitats.A brief generalization of some of the different habitat types listed follows.


Wetland:An area with hydric soils and plants adapted to growing in hydric conditions.


Sedge Meadow: An open wetland dominated by sedges and often containing nectar sources such as Swamp Milkweed and Joe Pye-Weed.Some sedge meadows occur within swamp forests and at varying stages of succession.


Open Wetland: A more general term for any wetland in open condition.Sedge meadows (above) would be included here as well as less diverse grassy wetlands.


Wetland Forest: A wetland dominated with large trees.


Floodplain Forest: A wetland forest on the floodplain of a river.


Forest:An area dominated with trees.


Forest Edge: The area at the border of a forested and open habitat.


Barrens:A xeric, disturbance-dependent, early successional remnant habitat rich in flora and fauna.A small area with some barrens character and barrens associated vegetation occurs on the top and slopes of Mosquito Hill.There is a continuum of transition between barrens and prairie habitats, and their distinction along the tension zone is somewhat arbitrary.


Prairie Planting:A formerly non-prairie area which has been planted with flora which grows in native (naturally occurring) prairies.


Meadow:An open area with a variety of wildflowers.


Field:An open area allowed to grow naturally for some time but not yet dominated by woody plants.


Butterfly Gardens: Areas planted with flowering plants attractive to butterflies.This category is only included because there are records of some strays from butterfly gardens.Many species will come to these nectar banks if they are planted within dispersal distance from or within their habitat.


Localities:Comprehensive species lists are presented in columns for four localities where considerable survey has been conducted (MH, FT, PP, & AP).Species lists are also presented for three localities that have received much less thorough collecting (BP, OT, & SH) and it is anticipated a number of other species could be recorded from these sites with additional collecting.Sites where only generalist species were found are not listed, although generalist species are included for the above seven localities.A few miscellaneous records for localities where only a few specimens have been collected are listed in the O [=other] Column. The same status symbols used to apply to the county as a whole are used on a smaller scale for each of the four primary localities, whereas the abbreviation for one of the sites listed in the O Column indicates that a particular species has been found at that site.


MH††††† Mosquito Hill Nature Center:This locality was a primary study site for the survey of Outagamie County lepidoptera, and it contains a variety of different habitat types including sedge meadow, floodplain forest, prairie planting, fields, a small wet meadow area, and a diverse hill containing varied dry forest types on the different slopes as well as lime cliffs and small areas with some barrens character.Butterfly surveys at this site were conducted from 1989-1995.


FT††††††† Fallen Timbers Environmental Center:This site was another primary study site and contains an extensive wetland forest with many wetland and sedge meadow openings.Also present are sizable meadows and fields as well as a man-made pond.Butterfly surveys at this site were conducted from 1988-1995.


PP††††††† Plaman County Park:This area contains moist to dry forest and a network of streams bordered by sedge meadow and wetlands in some areas.Fields are also present.This site has been surveyed most intensively during July, but at some other times of the year as well.


AP†††††† Appleton:This locality includes primarily a backyard located in an urban area near the downtown.


BP††††††† Bubolz Nature Preserve:This area contains a mix of dry to moist open and forested habitats and a series of ponds.An extensive white cedar forest is present.Limited survey was conducted during different dates between April and October.


OT†††††† Outagamie County Recreational Trail:This area has been only briefly studied (during July and Sept.) from Medina south to the Winnebago County border.Some of the habitat is agricultural, but there are areas of forest, wetland, fields, moist open areas, and even some prairie flora in places.


SH†††††† Schioctin:This area is a private hunting club which was surveyed only once during July.Habitats present include forested bog, sedge meadow, and moist fields.


MP†††††† Memorial Park:This site contains a pond and some open fields, but much of the habitat is short grass and of little interest for butterflies.Only a few trips (during June and July), not focusing on butterflies, were made here during the early years of this study.


WG††††† Wege Road:A rural area outside of Appleton where only a few specimens were collected.



Hypothetical Species


††††††††††† This section, located at the end of the checklist (Table 2), covers several species which could conceivably occur in Outagamie County but have not yet been recorded.This is not an exhaustive list, but includes those species which the author feels would be the most likely additions to the county list in the future based on records from surrounding counties or undocumented potential occurrences from Outagamie County.Discovery and survey of barrens or bog habitats in the county could potentially expand the list of possible additions.Accidental strays far from their breeding range could also result in future additions to the county list.


Expanding & Updating Information on Outagamie County Butterflies


††††††††††† Additional extensive butterfly collecting in Outagamie County will be highly valuable for scientific and conservation purposes and should be strongly encouraged, especially in areas maintained for the preservation of a natural community.Accurate and verifiable data on what species occur in an area, their flight season, and the habitats they occur in are crucial for making future and historical comparisons.To reliably evaluate if the Lepidoptera fauna of an area is being preserved requires a voucher-specimen-based inventory of the species that occur there.Collecting in already intensively sampled areas is less likely to produce new distributional records, but will provide valuable information on the fauna of these sites over time.Collecting in poorly or previously unsampled areas will add to our understanding of the distribution of butterflies within Outagamie County and Wisconsin.If habitats not covered in this study are found to occur within the county, survey of these areas would be especially interesting because of the possibility of adding new species to the county list.Persons collecting in Outagamie County are strongly encouraged to contact the author to share their information, which can be added to compilings of data on the countyís butterflies and used in future revisions of this checklist.




††††††††††† I thank Robert J. Borth for reviewing this manuscript.I am grateful to Libby Dorn and Jim Anderson for granting permission to collect/conduct Lepidoptera research at Fallen Timbers Environmental Center and Mosquito Hill Nature Center, respectively, two of the most extensively studied localities.Also, I thank the staff of Bubolz Nature Preserve for granting permission to collect at this locality.Richard Merkhofer provided additional data on butterflies from the Plaman Park area, including the only county record of Papilio cresephontes and the only records of Astereocampa celtis and Chlosyne gorgone for this locality.Thomas Rochealeau provided information from specimens of Euptoieta claudia and Pyrgus communis that he collected in the county in years prior to the authorís fieldwork.



The study of Outagamie County butterflies was a self-funded private contribution of the author dedicated to the scientific understanding and conservation of Wisconsinís Lepidoptera and natural habitats.






Ebner, James A.1970.The Butterflies of Wisconsin.Board of Trustees, Milwaukee Public †††††††† Museum.

Harvey, Donald J.1991.Higher Classification of the Nymphalidae.Appendix B in The †† Development and Evolution of Butterfly Wing Patterns by H. F. Nijhout.Smithsonian Institution Press.


Table 1a

Table 1b

Table 1c

Table 2



Figure 1

Check List of the Butterflies of Outagamie County, WI (Names Only)




Pyrginae [8]

3870††† Epargyreus clarus††††††

3910††† Thorybes pylades †††††

3945††† Erynnis icelus

3946††† Erynnis brizo

3947††† Erynnis juvenalis††††††††

3958††† Erynnis lucilius†††††††††††

3966††† Pyrgus communis††††††

3977††† Pholisora catullus†††††††


Heteropterinae [1]

3982††† Carterocephalus palemon†††††


Hesperiinae [21]

4004††† Ancyloxpha numitor†††

4012††† Thymelicus lineola†††††

4013††† Hylephila phyleus ††††††

4033††† Hesperia sassacus†††††

4036††† Polites coras††

4041††† Polites themistocles ††

4043††† Polites mystic

4047††† Wallengrenia egeremet †††††††††

4048††† Pompeius verna ††††††††

4049††† Atalopedes campestris †††††††††

4051††† Atrytone logan

4058††† Poanes massasoit††††††

4059††† Poanes hobomok†††††††

4064††† Poanes viator

4072††† Euphyes dion

4075††† Euphyes conspicua†††

4077††† Euphyes bimacula†††††

4078††† Euphyes vestris†††††††††

4096††† Amblyscirtes hegon†††

4105††† Amblyscirtes vialis ††††

4111††† Lerodea eufala ††††††††††




4159††† Papilio polyxenus†††††††

4170††† Papilio cresephontes††

4176††† Papilio glaucus†††††††††††

4176.1 Papilio canadensis†††††



4195††† Pieris napi††††††

4197††† Pieris rapae††††

4209††† Colias philodice††††††††††

4210††† Colias eurytheme†††††††

4220††† Colias interior

4224††† Zerene cessonia††††††††

4237††† Eurema lisa††††



4249††† Feniseca tarquinius††††

4251††† Lycaena phlaeas††††††††

4253††† Gaeides xanthoides†††

4256††† Hyllolycaena hyllus††††

4285††† Satyrium liparops†††††††

4282††† Satyrium calanus†††††††

4281††† Satyrium edwardsii††††

4283††† Satyrium caryaevorum††††††††††

4275††† Satyrium titus

4278††† Satyrium acadicum†††

4326††† Callophrys henrici††††††

4336††† Strymon melinus††††††††

4361††† Everes comyntas†††††††

4363††† Celastrina ladon [complex]††††

4372††† Glaucopsyche lygdamus



4411††† Libytheana carinenta

4420††† Polygonia interrogationis††††††††

4421††† Polygonia comma††††††

4429††† Polygonia progne†††††††

4430††† Nymphalis vau-album

4432††† Nymphalis antiopa†††††

4433††† Aglais milberti

4434††† Vanessa virginiensis††

4435††† Vanessa cardui††††††††††

4437††† Vanessa atlanta†††††††††

4440††† Junonia coenia†††††††††††

4447††† Euptoieta claudia†††††††

4450††† Speyeria cybele†††††††††

4451††† Speyeria aphrodite†††††

4459††† Speyeria atlantis††††††††

4464††† Clossiana selene††††††††

4465††† Clossiana bellona†††††††

4481††† Phyciodes tharos†††††††

4481.1 Phyciodes pascoensis

4482††† Phyciodes batesii†††††††

4489††† Chlosyne gorgone††††††

4490††† Chlosyne nycteis†††††††

4491††† Chlosyne harrisii††††††††

4522††† Basilarchia arthemis††

4523††† Basilarchia archippus

4557††† Astereocampa celtis††

4562.1 Astereocampa clyton

4568.1 Enodia anthedon††††††††

4568.3 Satyrodes eurydice††††

4569††† Satyrodes appalachia

4578††† Megisto cymela†††††††††

4587††† Cercyonis pegala†††††††

4614††† Danaus plexippus


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