A light breeze swirls inside Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Nature Center
garden causing a Gulf Fritillary butterfly to slightly drift off course.
quickly, the Gulf Fritillary, otherwise known as the Passion Butterfly, regains
its composure and lands on bright red bloom of a geranium in search of sweet
less than a tenth of an ounce, the bright orange and blackened body with three
black-encircled white dots on its forewings, the butterfly stays on the
colorful bloom only for a few seconds. Then it’s off in search of more nectar.
Gulf Fritillary is one of the most common butterflies aboard the installation,
according to a recent survey conducted by Julie Robbins, Natural Resource
Manager, MCLB Albany.
the study of butterflies and moths, is extremely important ecologically,”
Robbins said. “The reason we are interested in documenting the butterfly
species on the installation is that butterflies can indicate the overall
diversity and health of ecosystems.”
to Robbins, butterfly larvae are often host specific to certain plants.
specific means that the caterpillars have a limited number of plants in their
diet and without these plants, the larvae can’t develop into butterflies,” she
said. “Having the species on the installation indicates that the undergrowth is
diverse and capable of supporting populations of beneficial insects like butterflies
efforts like prescribed burning and restoring native grasses and wildflowers
have helped boost populations of these species, she added.
far, Robbins has documented 21 different species of butterflies through her survey
efforts. The information collected will also be used to develop a future
butterfly guide for the base, she said.
added that Nature Center visitors could see several other butterflies with
unique names such as Common Buckeyes, Southern Cloudywings, American Painted
Ladies, Pearl Crescents, Fiery Skippers and Delaware Skippers.
of the most common large butterflies fluttering around the flowers of the Nature
Center’s garden include Black Swallowtails, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails and Red
identification guide books, binoculars for children and a several butterfly
nets are available inside the Nature Center for any young entomologists who
want to study butterflies, Robbins noted.
there are several good places to view butterflies on the installation to include
the Nature Center garden outside Building 9251B at the corner of Williams
Boulevard and Crabb Avenue; along South Shaw Road, just west of the Main Gate,
and along North Shaw Road, east of the intersection with Walker Avenue.
Nature Center’s garden is located in front of the Natural and Cultural
Resources Building. The hours of
operation are seven days a week from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
For more information, call 229-639-9946.