ENSP Survey of Checkered Whites

As of Monday 8-6-12, this post has been updated with new info from Robert Somes. See below for more details than previously posted:

Following some tips from Chip Krilowicz and others, Robert Somes of NJ’s Endangered & Non-Game Species Program spent the day in Salem County on 8-3-12, surveying checkered whites:

I was down there today and had one large field with a comfortable 120+ checkered whites with extensive ovipositing. I had several locations with 12-25 [individuals] and found at least a couple in any seemingly suitable place I visited. I surveyed a variety of locations from Pedricktown south to the Salem Creek WMA. I found scattered individuals along the roadside and larger numbers in the larger field edges or fallow areas. This is somewhat unbelievable. It just goes to show you never really know what nature might turn up next.

Robert Somes
Senior Zoologist
NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
Endangered and Nongame Species Program
1 Eldridge Road
Robbinsville, NJ 08691

Futher details from another email today:

The one field/location had the 120. Two of us did transects to see if we could come up with a good estimate on the total. I would put the grand total around 200 for the day. That is just counting the ones we looked close enough at to say they were checkered whites. There were definitely more. Just a quick count for the locations we visited:

Pennsgrove-Auburn Rd (551) and Pedricktown-Woodstown road – 40+
Pennsgrove-Auburn Rd(641) and Pointers Auburn Rd-~120
Featherbed Lane-8
Salem Creek WMA 1- 6
Salem Creek WMA 2- 3

Also saw random strays along the roadside.
It seemed like the numbers quickly tapered off once you left the core areas. We still manged to find a handful farther south, but it took a little time (plentiful peppergrass at the one Salem Creek location but only three checkered whites).

We also saw more cabbage whites the farther we moved away. We were hard pressed to find any cabbage whites at the two areas with higher numbers. I wonder if it was the start of big emergence and we were just seeing dispersing individuals farther away?

We arrived in the area fairly early, before anything was flying, but once everything got going. the numbers increased as time passed. Either way, very exciting and interesting event.

I am going to take a ride down there again on Wednesday (8-8-12)and spread out a little bit more and try and look at the overall distribution. I am curious how far away we can turn one up. Take care and thanks for the help.

Robert Somes

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