You may have noticed a lot of butterflies recently and seen more than you’d like smashed on your windshield or in the grill of your car. Experts say for this species, the population is so hardy, your car isn’t doing the population any damage.
The American Snout Nose Butterfly is named for its long nose. It’s small, orange, black and brown and mimics fall leaves.
Molly Keck is an entomologist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County.
"They’re by and large the one you’re seeing in this mass migration. And you see them around this time of year, almost every year. They migrate down to the Rio Grande Valley, Rio Grande River area," Keck says.
Keck says they start their migration in San Marcos and areas a little farther north, and she calls them “an I-35 corridor kind of butterfly.”
Keck says the American Snout Nose Butterfly isn’t threatened or endangered like some other butterflies because of the abundance of the spiny hackberry plant that they eat. Keck says because of that, when we hit them with our cars, we’re just not doing that much damage.
"It seems amazing that you wouldn’t put a dent in the population with as many hundreds as you sometimes kill on your way to and from work, but there’s just so many of them right now that you’re not really doing too much. And that’s kind of part of the way insects work. They put out a whole bunch of babies and hope that just a handful make it, and that’s what’s happening now," she says.
Keck says though the butterfly lives in other parts of the country, their numbers are so large here that she considers them a true Texas butterfly.