Texas is home to a diverse population of butterflies.
Photo by Celeste Cook
Exploring Nature: Texas Butterflies
When it comes to butterflies, there’s just no place like Texas.
We have a tremendous butterfly diversity, the most species of anywhere in North America, with over 430 recorded.
Arizona is a distant second with 325 species and New Mexico is the only other state with over 300 species. By comparison, California has 250 butterflies and Florida has less than 200.
Best place for butterflies in Texas is the Rio Grande Valley, so it is no wonder the North American Butterfly Association chose that area for its International Butterfly Park, the premier butterfly garden in the world. This garden is a haven for butterflies because of the mild winters, plant diversity and close proximity to Tamaulipas, Mexico’s most biologically-diverse northern state.
If you have a hankering to see butterflies, head on down to this butterfly- rich park, located near Mission, Texas. An ideal time to go would be Nov. 4 - 7 of this year, for the 27th annual Texas Butterfly Festival. Call 956-583-5400 for information.
If you want to visit before then, the butterfly park is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., every day except Easter Sunday. You’ll be able to stroll down paths on hundreds of acres of cultivated gardens and natural wildscapes. Among the latest sightings has been a rare Carolina satyr butterfly.
In addition to butterflies, other wildlife has put in an appearance at the park. Bobcats have been seen in the back 70 acres, so keep an eye out.
And believe it or not, a few butterfly species are quite numerous in the wintertime. The falcate orangetip can be found flying around in late February to early April. But spring and fall are the best seasons for maximum diversity. Don’t forget to take your close-focusing binoculars.