Hugh Avery Freeman on Collecting in the RGV

Excerpt from:

Freeman, H.A. 1959. Butterfly collecting in Texas and New Mexico. 
Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 13(2): 89-93.

The Pharr area, which is about the center of the lower Rio Grande Valley section, is one of the most interesting places to collect as you do not know what you are going to collect from day to day and from one year to the next. This part of Texas is definitely sub-tropical and many of the species that occur as native species are the same as you will find two hundred miles south in Mexico. The number of strays and new records for the United States that turn up in and around Pharr is remarkable. Because of the condition of the land and other factors the best collecting is to be done around the irrigation ditches and canals and along the Rio Grande river. One of the best places to collect was found to be on the La Reforma ranch which is situated north of Hidalgo just off the McAllen road [South 23rd Street]. Any person desiring to find this locality can get there by driving from Hidalgo along beside the railroad and turn left on a dirt road that has the high power line running parallel with it. This turn-off is just about two miles from Hidalgo and you can go forward on this dirt road for about three-fourths of a mile and your will drive into the wooded area. Here is the place where I turned up a number of new United States records and saw my only Morpho in the United States. Butterflies fairly swarm during all the months of the year and only a few of the most interesting will be mentioned. Here along the sides of the road

Scientific Name as Published: Corresponding English Name
Astraptes fulgerator (Walsh) Two-barred Flasher
Pellicia bromias (G. & S.) Purplish-black Skipper

P. costimacula (H.-S.)

Glazed Pellicia
Spathilepia clonius (Cramer) Falcate Skipper
Timochares ruptifasciata (Ploetz) Brown-banded Skipper
Achlyodes thraso (Hbn.) Sickle-winged Skipper
Gorgythion begga pyralina (Moschler) Variegated Skipper
Aguna asander (Hew.) Gold-spotted Aguna
Proteides mercurius (Fab.) Mercurial Skipper
Lerodea tyrtaeus (Fab.) Violet-patched Skipper
Adelpha fessonia Hew. Band-celled Sister
Chlorippe pavon Latr. Pavon Emperor
Apodemia walkeri G. Walker's Metalmark
Lasaia sessilis Schaus Blue Metalmark
Thecla bazochii G. Lantana Scrub-Hairstreak
Thecla facuna Hew. Goodson's Greenstreak
Thecla cestri (Reak.) Tailless Scrub-Hairstreak
Mitoura xami (Reak.)  Xami Hairstreak

...  and many others may be found.

Another excellent place to collect is six miles north of McAllen on the road to Edinburg. It is up and down the irrigation canal that crosses under the highway.

Just west of Mission two species of Megathymidae may be collected, Megathymus yuccae wilsonorum Stallings & Turner and Stallingsia maculosus (Freeman). To collect in that part of the state, just locate a nice irrigation ditch that has been there for several years and has had a lot of vegetation around it.

In the section around Pharr it is doubtful whether a person would ever get all of the species that occur around that locality, as each year new things make their appearance and ones that were there the year before fail to appear.

Aerial photograph of the center of the lower Rio Grande Valley

Link to other historical RGV Butterfly information

12 Oct 2009 Mike Quinn / / Texas Entomology