What’s happening with hoary edge skippers? Not so long ago — fifteen years ago or so — Achalarus lyciades seemed to be a species South Jersey butterflyers could hope to spot somewhere during the year, given just a little luck. On the Checklist of Cape May County Butterflies compiled by Pat Sutton and David Wright in 1993, twenty years ago, hoary edge was listed as common in the county.
That status seems to have changed. For at least the last decade, spotting a hoary edge in South Jersey has been a serious challenge.
Pat Sutton’s compilation of data from her Cumberland County NABA Count shows that the species has been found on only eight counts in that Count’s twenty-two years, and seven of those dates were in the first twelve years of the count. Since 2003, the species has been found only once on the Cumberland Count — a single individual on 6-28-2009. In our five+ years of logging, our SJBF observers have compiled only a single report: a individual spotted by Glen Davis, Mike Crewe, and Tony Leukering, near Fulling Mill Road in Cape May County on 8-3-11.
Two South Jersey NABA Counts were completed this week — the Cumberland County Count and the Belleplain Count — and apparently the species went unreported once again.
As far as our log records show, not one of our SJBF observers — many of them very active field observers — has photo’d the species in southern NJ in at least the past five years.
Can we find this species this year? Does anyone out there have a photo of the species taken in southern NJ in the past ten years? And, finally, does anyone have an idea why it seems to be struggling here?
Brian Johnson found a hoary edge on 6-28-13 on the Peek Preserve in Cumberland, our first report since 2011. Our year count now = 79 species. We are still looking for our first photo of the species for our log, however. Keep chasing, everyone!