PEEC: Learn About Local Butterflies

Monarch Butterfly. Photo by Selvi Viswanathan

PEEC News:

As spring turns to summer, butterflies become more frequent visitors to the Pajarito Plateau. To learn more about these beautiful creatures, local butterfly enthusiast Roy Michelotti will introduce listeners to the most common species of butterflies seen in and around Los Alamos.

In addition to discussing butterfly identification, he will also explore this unique creature’s biology, behavior, life cycle and more. This talk is 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 21 at the Los Alamos Nature Center. It is free, and no registration is required.

This event precedes the Dorothy Hoard Memorial Butterfly Count that is scheduled for Saturday, July 25. For the day of the butterfly count, participants will meet butterfly expert Steve Cary at three separate areas to observe, count and learn about butterflies: mesa top, high altitude and streamside.

Participants will meet at 9 a.m., Sunday at the Burnt Mesa Trailhead, and will stay around this area until 10:45 a.m. Next, they will count 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at Camp May where they will stop for lunch. The last stop is 1:45-3:15 p.m. at Cañon del Valle on N.M. 501. Participants are welcome to stay for the whole day, or opt to count at some locations. This event is $5 for adults, and free for children. Please register in advance.

Roy Michelotti was introduced to butterflies more than 25 years ago by renowned lepidopterist and natural-history author Robert Michael Pyle, author of The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Michelotti has participated in most of the Los Alamos County Butterfly Counts, and has chased butterflies from California to Maine.

Butterflies have always been Steve Cary’s passion. In addition to publishing scientific and popular articles on these amazing creatures, his involvement in leading walks and talks about butterflies has made him New Mexico’s unofficial Butterfly Guy. New Mexico Magazine published his wonderful book, Butterfly Landscapes of New Mexico, in 2009. After concluding his career in New Mexico State government in 2010, Cary is now the Operations and Resource Manager at the Randall Davey Audubon Center in Santa Fe.

For more information about this and other PEEC programs, visit, email or call 505.662.0460.

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