Sighting for July 20, 2022

Kathy Horn

South Cape May Meadows
Cape May County, NJ

Covered this area as part of the Cape May Count. My photos of broken-dash look potentially good for southern, with the bright orange and the differing coloration of FW and HW fringes. Input appreciated.

[Congratulations, Kathy, on a very exciting find – and two superb photographs documenting the discovery!

The three veteran observers who have seen these photos so far all agree it looks good for southern broken-dash which has been on our list as a possible 109th species for several years now. I am adding it as such to this year's count on Early/Late Dates spreadsheet with brackets to indicate our understanding that many experts in southern states question whether it can be reliably identified by sight and photos alone. (The absolute tell-tale distinction, apparently, is in the shape of the genitalia, which is observable only in collected specimens, obviously.)

It seems the only way South Jersey butterflyers who do not collect specimens can prove SBDs occur in our area is to continue photographing reddish broken-dashes (like the individual here), reporting those finds, and submitting those photos to the log. If we can gather enough photographs over time, we might eventually reach the point when the species is one more unquestioned species on the list.

Keep alert, everyone – especially those of you in the southern end of our region closest to Sussex County, Delaware, where SBDs fly for sure.

You can read more details about the complexities of identifying this species and a little about the history of the split from northern broken-dash on our blog here:
https://blogs.stockton.edu/sjbfs/?s=broken+dash

Our Early/Late Dates All Species Spreadsheet 2008-2022 is available on the blog here:
https://blogs.stockton.edu/sjbfs/early-late-extreme-dates-2008-2013/

Congratulations again to Kathy on this very significant find!

jc]

  • Black Swallowtail 4
  • Cabbage White 2
  • Orange Sulphur 1
  • 'Summer' Spring Azure 2
  • Pearl Crescent 11
  • Red Admiral 2
  • Common Buckeye 4
  • Viceroy 1
  • Common Wood-Nymph 18
  • Monarch 3
  • Salt Marsh Skipper 1
  • Least Skipper 1
  • Northern Broken-Dash 2
  • Sachem 1
  • Broad-winged Skipper 4

apparent Southern Broken-dash

dorsal view same individual