Newly Described Species Found at Tall Timbers

It’s not every day we find a new wildlife species in our backyards. But that’s the case with the Intricate Satyr butterfly at Tall Timbers.

Known in the scientific world as Hermeuptychia intricata, the Intricate Satyr looks a lot like the Carolina Satyr and lives in the same areas, though they don’t interbreed. And that’s why it took so long to be discovered by science. It was hiding in plain sight! It wasn’t until 2014 that scientists in Texas looked at the DNA of various satyrs in south Texas and discovered the new species.

The Intricate Satyr uses woodoats and witchgrasses as its host plants. A host plant is where a butterfly lays its eggs and what the caterpillars feed on. Both are found along the swamp edges of Woodyard Hammock. With local lepidopterists Brian Lloyd and Eric Shaw, we set out to see if this new species may be inhabiting Tall Timbers. We walked down Beadle Road from SR 12 toward Lake Iamonia encountered satyrs right away. We netted 18 of them and after close examination found that at least 2 were Intricate Satyrs. Mission accomplished!

Distinguishing between Intricate and Carolina Satyrs can be tricky. Some individuals are clearly marked, but some show characteristics of both and can’t be easily distinguished. But no worries, they can tell the difference — they use scent to tell who is who. The arrows and line in the photos below indicate curves or lack thereof in wing markings that distinguish the two species for us humans.

Intricate Satyr. Photo by Brian Lloyd

Carolina Satyr. Photo by Brian Lloyd



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