Butterflies soar in South Jersey
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - June 19, 2010 -- Butterflies are plentiful in South Jersey.
Winter blizzards and flooding followed by a warm spring have produced one pleasant surprise - an abundance of butterflies.
Until recently, few people tracked southern New Jersey's butterflies with the same vigilance paid to its migratory birds.
But Jack Connor, a butterfly hobbyist from Port Republic and a writing professor at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, decided in 2008 to launch an Internet butterfly database and encouraged friends and acquaintances to report their sightings.
Experts say the blizzards and flooding, combined with the warm spring, makes for stronger plants where caterpillar larva and eggs are found. This creates better breeding conditions, which leads to more butterflies.
Last year, Connor had 50 observers who posted 8,000 sightings. Already this spring, he has had 2,000 observations of butterflies with names such as hackberry emperor and red-spotted purple.
New Jersey is home to just 100 native species and about 60 more occasional vagrants.
new jersey, blizzard, local/state
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