I love citizen science projects. I’ve written before of my love for Project Noah, Journey North, and eBird. Today it’s time to introduce you to the ultimate resource for butterfly and moth lovers – Butterflies and Moths of North America, also known as BAMONA.
BAMONA describes its mission as an “ambitious effort to collect and provide access to quality-controlled data about butterflies and moths for the continent of North America from Panama to Canada… Our goal is to fill the needs of scientists and nature observers by bringing verified occurrence and life history data into one accessible location.” The terrific thing about this site is that everything is verified by experts, so you can be certain that the information you see here is correct. The site provides detailed info about life cycles and ranges, and includes user-submitted photos and tracking data. For each species, you’ll find information about when they fly in all parts of their range, as well as the foods needed by adults and caterpillars – great for planning a garden for attracting butterflies on your wishlist.
BAMONA also allows you to take a look at reported sightings of specific species, with the most recent 400 highlighted in orange. The map is interactive, so you can zoom into the area that interests you, or take a wider look at the general range of the species. You can click on each of these sightings to get more information about where and when it was spotted. All sightings are verified by photograph or detailed description before being added to the map.
BAMONA offers a variety of other tools, including regional checklists that can be narrowed down to the county level in the U.S. You can use these lists as a lifelist checklist, or just look to see what butterflies you can expect to find. This allows you to plan a garden for attracting butterflies with the host plants needed for the butterflies in your area. And once you spot these butterflies in your garden (or anywhere), you can then send your own reports to BAMONA to help them build their database. This is citizen science at its finest – a quality source of information built and used by amateurs and scientists alike!
Looking for more butterfly gardening advice? Visit the Birds & Blooms Attracting Butterflies section!