Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I join the Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society?

You can join by simply emailing your mailing address to
Dale Clark .
You'll begin receiving the DCLS newsletter which will notify you of future meetings, field trips and other related butterfly events in the area. Membership is free.

How often are meetings held?

Meetings are held monthly, usually on the second Saturday of the month at 10:00 a.m.

Where are meetings held?

During the spring, summer and fall we generally meet "in the field" at various locations in and around the Dallas area.
In the winter, or when weather does not permit a field trip, we usually meet in the auditorium of the Dallas Museum of Natural History in Fair Park.

Do I need to know a lot about butterflies to be a member?

Not at all! We have a wide range of expertise among our members - some are very knowledgeable while others are only just beginning to learn about this fascinating subject.

Is collecting allowed on field trips?

This depends on the locality that we visit. Some places do not allow collecting but most of our field trips are to locations where people can collect if they want to do so.

How long does a butterfly live?

It depends on the species. Some butterflies like the fall brood of the Monarch, the overwintering Mourning Cloak or Question Mark can live for up to 7 months. But these are the exceptions to the rule rather than the standard. Most butterflies live a relatively short time as adults - usually only a couple of weeks.

Are the Monarchs going to disappear?

While Monarchs face many hurtles in their lives, from encroachment into the overwintering sites in Mexico by loggers, the presumed risk of BT Corn and the seemingly never ending habitat destruction which threatens many butterflies and animals, the Monarch actually seems to be surviving and adapting quite well.

May I use some of the photos from your site?

Use of photos from the DCLS site is permitted as long as proper credit is given.

What is the best plant for attracting butterflies?

There are whole books written on gardening for butterflies so it's rather difficult to narrow it down to just one plant. Especially when you consider that the best way to attract butterflies to your hard is to plant both nectar plants for the adults and host plants for the caterpillars. Lantana is one of the best nectar plants you can add to your landscape. Check out the heading "Butterfly Gardening" on the main webpage for more suggestions. Also, the Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park (214-428-7476) offers a butterfly gardening class each spring (usually in April). For a small fee you get a three hour lecture as well as a flat full of plants to get you started.

What is DCLS's stance on collecting?

DCLS wholeheartedly supports the responsible collecting of butterflies and moths (and other insects as well). Much can be learned from collecting and it offers an important record of what is on the wing at a given time as well as giving researchers a glimpse into the past when they look at a specimen decades from now. Collecting is by no means a prerequisite for membership --we have many members who do not collect and have no interest in doing so -- but collecting is done on many of our field trips by certain individuals.

Does DCLS maintain a collection of specimens?

The organization itself does not have a collection but several of its members do maintain permanent collections. We are also working with the Dallas Museum of Natural History to expand their permanent collection of butterflies and moths.

Does DCLS welcome submissions of material for the web site?

We very much welcome submissions of materials - whether they be articles, news of "What's on the Wing" or photos. Send all submissions to Dale Clark.

I visited one of your "hotspots" last Saturday and was not able to find all the butterflies listed.

The species lists on the hotspots pages are a cumulative listing of species found at each particular location. It is not likely that you will find all species at any given time.

Does DCLS have speakers available for garden clubs or other events?

Several of our members often do speaking engagements at various garden clubs and other organizations. If you are looking for a speaker contact Dale Clark.

I saw a butterfly that is not on your What's on the Wing list … did you miss it?

"What's on the Wing" is by no means a comprehensive list of what is flying (although we try to make it so) but is instead a listing of what species I actually see that week. While I'm out in the field almost everyday there are species that I suspect to be flying but have not seen which are not included. By all means, if you see a species not on the list please email the information.

Why do people collect butterflies?

A properly maintained collection with correct collecting information (date, location, etc.) is an important tool in the serious study of butterflies. New species of butterflies are still being discovered in North America. This would not have been possible had people not collected the actual insect. A specimen in hand offers far more irrefutable information than a photograph or "sighting".

I want to start a butterfly collection … what do I need to know?

DCLS will soon have a section on our website concerning this activity.

Are there any threatened/endangered butterflies and moths in the Dallas area?

There are currently no listed butterflies that are threatened/endangered in the Dallas area.

Why do you always list the Latin name for the butterflies and moths?

Latinized names generally convey more information about the butterfly or moth than just a common name. Each butterfly or moth (and every other living thing on the planet) has at least a binomial "Latin" name which applies specifically to it. "Mourning Cloak" doesn't mean much to someone living in England where the same butterfly (Nymphalis antiopa) is called the Camberwell Beauty. However, it is still Nymphalis antiopa regardless of whether you are in the United States, England, Russia or anywhere else within it's range. In most of the new "popular" field guides many subspecies of butterflies are "lumped" together under one common name, the Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia) being a good example. However, using the "Latin" name of Heliconius charithonia vasquezae you can know that someone is talking about the subspecies of this butterfly that is found in Texas as opposed to Heliconius charithonia tuckeri the subspecies found in Florida. The Latin name is more precise and accurate, imparts more information, and can be used when dealing with people in other parts of the country or world who may not be familiar with common names of your region.

Is DCLS affiliated with the North American Butterfly Association (NABA)?

DCLS is NOT affiliated with the North American Butterfly Association. NABA is a "non-consumptive" organization (meaning they do not want you to collect). We think this mindset is exclusive and, in the long run, harmful to science. We are an inclusive organization whose purpose is "to provide a forum where people may gather to share an interest in butterflies and moths, whether that interest takes the form of collecting, gardening, photography, study or casual observation." Membership in DCLS is free.

Email Dale Clark