Trail camera set to
photograph butterflies visiting sundial lupine in north Florida.
have increased both storage and resolution capabilities making trail cameras a
cost-effective tool in animal monitoring. Previous studies have used camera
traps to monitor pollinators but no studies have implemented this technique for
butterflies in the US. In this study, we used a trail camera to monitor a patch
of sundial lupine for the imperiled frosted elfin butterfly. A total of 219
individual insects were observed, of which only ~3% were completely
unidentifiable. We found the vast majority of photographed butterflies were
identifiable to the family-level. Additionally, some of those butterflies were
identified further to the species-level including those as small as the
whirlabout (~2.5 - 3.2 cm wingspan). We believe trail cameras can provide a
useful and inexpensive way to sample small butterflies across large areas when
human observers are not always feasible.