Texas Biological Diversity

Stations / Checklists / Rarities / Rankings / Events / Museums / Databases / Taxonomy

Pie chart showing relative diversity of insects, verts, inverts, and plants

USA / Mexico / North America / Western Hemisphere / Global / Papers

Return to Texas Entomology - Compiled by Mike Quinn

Texas has some 28,975 species of insects!

Biological Research Stations




    New Mexico


Checklists - (Invertebrate)

Rare Species Lists - (Invertebrate)


Rank Plants Mammals Birds Reptiles Amphibians Fishes Butterflies
1 California California Texas Texas North Carolina Alabama Texas
2 Texas Texas New Mexico Arizona Georgia Tennessee Arizona
3 Arizona New Mexico Arizona New Mexico Virginia Georgia New Mexico
4 New Mexico Oregon California Florida Tennessee Kentucky Colorado
5 Oregon Arizona Florida California Texas Mississippi California

Top 10 States or Regions of the U.S. with the Greatest Butterfly Diversity

McDaniel, N. 2002. Texas is second-most biologically diverse state in U.S. Nature Conservancy, San Antonio, TX. Press Release.

Stein, B.A. 2002. States of the Union: Ranking America’s Biodiversity. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. 25 pp.

R.E. Stanford & P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies, including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Published by authors. Denver, Colorado. 275 pp. 

Centres of Plant Diversity and Endemism - Smithsonian


Species Richness and Trends of Western Butterflies and Moths - Paul A. Opler

Number of species of selected Lepidoptera by state:

State Hawk-

Top 5

Texas 69 34 127 290 520


Arizona 49 31 111 246 437 2
New Mexico 31 24 83 272 410 3
Colorado 32 18 71 230 351 4
California 30 17 52 225 324 5
Idaho 16 7 24 154 201
Kansas 23 9 34 133 199
Montana 10 6 27 184 227
Nebraska 36 10 38 170 254
Nevada 18 9 28 181 236
North Dakota 30 3 16 132 181  
Oklahoma 39 13 30 146 228  
Oregon 23 9 28 154 214  
South Dakota 12 7 32 149 200  
Utah 24 14 46 197 281
Washington 17 8 27 140 192
Wyoming 18 7 49 197 271
Totals for western U.S. 99 68 219 529 915

Ento Counts & Blitzes (other Texas Entomological Events)

Annually Since 2000  

4th of July Butterfly Counts 
Late June to Mid July
North American Butterfly Association (NABA)
25 Texas locations in 2001
www.naba.org/counts.html - Map of TX Counts (All Counts)
Annually since 1975

Museum Collections - (Invertebrate)

Databases - (Invertebrate & Botanical)


Taxonomy - (Invertebrate & Plant)



North America

Western Hemisphere

Graph Comparing Bird and Butterfly Diversity (Robbins & Opler, 1996)

(First locality should be Greenland)

Global Diversity Comparison (Robbins & Opler, 1996)

Among the well-known taxonomic groups of terrestrial animals, butterflies have the greatest number of species. With 17,500 species, they are three to five times more numerous than mammals, amphibians, mosquitoes, termites, or dragonflies. There are approximately two species of butterflies for every species of non-marine bird, and a bit less than three species of butterflies for every one of reptiles.

Bibliography of Biological Diversity Publications

Balcázar, M.A.L. 1997. Mexican butterfly diversity. American Butterflies 5(4):28-35.


Bálint, Z. & K. Johnson. 1995. Neotropical polyommatine diversity and affinities. I. Relationships of the higher taxa (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 41(3):211-235.


Boettner, G. 2002. When Biodiversity meets Biocontrol: The Thin Green Line Between Insect Conservation and Insect Control. Conservation Perspectives, the eJournal of the New England Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology.

Colwell, R.K. & J.A. Coddington. 1994. Estimating terrestrial biodiversity through extrapolation. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 345:101-118.

Colwell, R.K., C. Rahbek & N.J. Gotelli. 2004. The mid-domain effect and species richness patterns: what have we learned so far? American Naturalist 163(3):E1-E23.

Danks, H.V. 1994. Regional Diversity of Insects in North America. American Entomologist 40(1):50-55.

DeVries, P.J. 1994. Patterns of butterfly diversity and promising topics in natural history and ecology. Pp. 187-194 in: McDade, L.A., K.S. Bawa, H.S. Hespenheide, & G.S. Hartshorn, editors. La Selva, Ecology and Natural History of a Neotropical Rain Forest. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

DeVries, P.J., I.A. Chacon, & D. Murray. 1992. Towards a better understanding of host use and biodiversity in riodinid butterflies (Lepidoptera). Journal of Research on Lepidoptera 31(1-2):103-126.

DeVries, P.J., D. Murray, & R. Lande. 1997. Species diversity in vertical, horizontal, and temporal dimensions of a fruit-feeding butterfly community in an Ecuadorian rainforest. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 62:343-364.

Erwin, T.L. 1988. The tropical forest canopy--The heart of biotic diversity. Pp. 123-129 in: E.O. Wilson (ed.), Biodiversity. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

Erwin, T.L. 1997. Biodiversity at its utmost: Tropical forest beetles. Pp. 27-40 in: M.L. Reaka-Kudla, D.E. Wilson, & E.O. Wilson (eds.), Biodiversity II. Joseph Henry Press, Washington, D.C.

Gilbert, L.E. 1991. Biodiversity of a Central American Heliconius community: Pattern, process, and problems. Pp. 403-427 in: Price, P.W., T.M. Lewinsohn, G.W. Fernandes & W.W. Benson. editors. Plant-Animal interactions: Evolutionary ecology in tropical and temperate regions. Wiley, New York. Spanish translation.

Hafernik, J.E. 1992. Threats to invertebrate biodiversity: implications for conservation strategies. in:  Fiedler, P.L. & S. K. Jain, editors. Conservation Biology: The theory and practice of nature conservation, preservation and management. Chapman and Hall, New York.

Hawksworth, D.L. & J.M. Ritchie. 1993. Biodiversity and Biosystematic Priorities: Microorganisms and Invertebrates. CABI, The University of Arizona Press, Tucson. 128 pp.

Heppner, J.B. 1991. Faunal regions and the diversity of Lepidoptera. Tropical Lepidoptera 2(Suppl. 1):1-85.

Holloway, J.D. & Stork, N.E. (1991): The dimensions of biodiversity: the use of invertebrates as indicators of human impact Pp. 37-62 in: Hawksworth, D.L. editor. The Biodiversity of Microorganisms and Invertebrates: Its Role in Sustainable Agriculture. CAB International, Wallingford.

Johnson, K. 1978. Specificity, geographic distribution and foodplant diversity in four Callophrys. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 32(1): 3-19.

Kocher, S.D. & E.H. Williams. 2000. The Diversity and Abundance of North American Butterflies Vary with Habitat Disturbance and Geography. Journal of Biogeography 27, 785–794.

Llorente-Bousquets, J. & Luis-Martínez, A. 1993. Conservation-oriented analysis of Mexican butterflies: Papilionidae (Lepidoptera, Papilionoidea). Pp. 147-177 in: Ramamoorthy, T.P., Bye, R., Lot, A. & Fa, J.E., editors. Biological Diversity of Mexico: Origins and Distribution. Oxford University Press, New York.

Luis, A.M., J.B. Llorente, I.F. Vargas & A.D. Warren. 2003. Biodiversity and biogeography of Mexican butterflies (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 105(1):209-224.

Mann, C.C. 1994. Fire ants parlay their queens into a threat to biodiversity. Science 263:1560-1561.

Morrison, L.W. & S.D. Porter. 2003. Positive association between densities of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), and generalized ant and arthropod diversity. Environmental Entomology 32:548-554.

Naeem, S., Thompson, L.J., Lawler, S.P., Lawton, J.H. & Woodfin, R.M. 1994. Declining biodiversity can alter the performance of ecosystems. Nature 368:734–737.

Opler, P.A. 1995. Conservation and management of butterfly diversity in North America. in: A.S. Pullin, editor. Ecology and Conservation of Butterflies. Chapman and Hall, London.

Peterson, A.T., O.A. Flores, L.S. León, J.E. Llorente, A.M. Luis, A.G. Navarro, M.G. Torres & I. Vargas. 1993. Conservation priorities in Mexico:

Moving up in the world. Biodiversity Letters 1(2):33-38.

Pimm, S.L. & J.H. Brown. 2004. Domains of diversity. Science 304:831-833.

Pyle, R.M., Bentzien, M., and Opler, P. 1981. Insect conservation. Annual Review of Entomology. 26:233-258

Ramamoorthy, T.P., R. Bye, A. Lot & J. Fa, editors. 1993. Biological Diversity of Mexico: Origins and Distribution. Oxford University Press, N.Y. 

Riley, E.G. in press. Proceedings of the 2004 Wildlife Diversity Conference. Texas Parks & Wildlife, San Marcos, Texas.

Robbins, R.K. & P.A. Opler. 1996. Butterfly Diversity and a Preliminary Comparison with Bird and Mammal Diversity. Pp. 69-82 in: M.L. Reaka-Kudla, D.E. Wilson, and E.O. Wilson, Editors; 1997. Biodiversity II: Understanding and Protecting Our Biological Resources. Joseph Henry Press, Washington, DC.

Soule, M.E., editor. 1986. The Science of Scarcity and Diversity. Sinauer Association, Sunderland, MA. 584 pp.

Stein, B.A. 2002. States of the Union: Ranking America’s Biodiversity. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. 25 pp.

Stein, B.A., L.S. Kutner & J.S. Adams, editors. 2000. Precious Heritage: The Status of Biodiversity in the United States. Oxford University Press. 416 pp.

Stork, N.E. 1988. Insect diversity: facts, fiction, and speculation. Biological Journal on the Linnean Society 35:321-aF337.

Stork, N.E. 1997. Measuring global biodiversity and its decline. Pp. 41-68 in: M.L. Reaka- Kudla, D.E. Wilson & E.O. Wilson (eds.), Biodiversity II. Joseph Henry Press, Washington, D.C.

Tyler, H.A., K.S. Brown, Jr. & K.H. Wilson. 1994. Swallowtail butterflies of the Americas: A study in biological dynamics, ecological diversity, biosystematics, and conservation. Scientific Publishers, Gainesville. 376 pp.

Wheeler, Q.D. 1990. Insect diversity and cladistic constraints. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 83(6):1031-1047.

Wilson, E.O., editor. 1988. Biodiversity. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

Wilson, E.O. 1992. The Diversity of Life. W.W. Norton & Co., N.Y.


Texas Parks & Wildlife offers its Wildlife Conservation License Plate featuring the Texas Horned Lizard, which benefits wildlife diversity efforts in Texas.

14 May 2011 © Mike Quinn / entomike@gmail.com / Texas Entomology