North American Butterfly Association

Frosted Elfin

How You Can Help - Frosted Elfins in Texas


There are several ways that you can help in this current effort to assess the current status of Frosted Elfin in eastern Texas and to search for additional populations of this rare butterfly species. The only documented records within the last two years for Frosted Elfins in Texas are from Grayson, Henderson, San Augustine, and Tyler counties. If you know of other current locations for this butterfly in Texas, please e-mail Dean Jue at jue@naba.org.

Because this butterfly is dependent on Wild Indigo (Baptisia sp.) plants for reproduction, we will search areas with good Wild Indigo patches on the larger Texas conservation lands. In Texas, the Frosted Elfin is known to use Blue Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis), Yellow Wild Indigo (Baptisia sphaerocarpa), Nuttal’s Wild Indigo (Baptisia nuttalliana), and possibly other wild indigo species as well. For photographs of Frosted Elfins and their caterpillar foodplants, click here. If you are aware of healthy patches of wild indigo on any of the conservation lands listed for the 31 counties, please let us know where those patches are. The more detailed the information you can provide about the exact location, the better (e.g., latitude and longitude) but if more general descriptions are fine if that is all you can provide (e.g., about 2 miles north of the intersection of Road A and Highway B). Also, if you are aware of healthy patches of wild indigo on any land, public or private, in our project study area which you believe warrants searching for Frosted Elfins and to which we could get access, please provide us with those locations as well. A data sheet is provided for you to fill in the desired information. We will use this provided information to target specific locations to visit during the February through April 2018 time period to look for Frosted Elfin butterflies and caterpillars.

In addition, you can help by becoming a citizen scientist and volunteering to survey some of our pre-identified locations for adult Frosted Elfins and their caterpillars from February through April 2018. You do not have to be a butterfly expert to conduct these surveys but we will need a photo or video of an adult Frosted Elfin or its caterpillar from a survey site in order to enter that sighting into a database as a confirmed location. We have identified an initial group of conservation lands from the 31 counties where we would like to conduct Frosted Elfin surveys during 2018. You can use that initial listing to tell us where you are willing and able to survey for Frosted Elfins. A citizen science sign-up sheet is provided to indicate your preferences for these surveys. We will be sending survey protocols and guidelines for the citizen science volunteers during early February 2018 as well as identifying the specific sites to survey. Participants who have been approved to conduct these surveys will be reimbursed 53.5 cents per mile for the round-trip distance from their residence to the survey sites to help defray their gasoline costs and in appreciation for their critical assistance to this project.

If you neither know of any good wild indigo locations in eastern Texas nor can you devote any time to conducting surveys for Frosted Elfin adults or caterpillars during the February through April 2018 timeframe but are still interested in this project, please pass this information along to others whom you know who may have more knowledge or time to assist us in this one-year project.

For approved participants survey guidelines and survey instructions are available. Tips for distinguishing Frosted Elfins from Henry's Elfins may be found here. Data should be entered using this form and vehicle mileage should be entered using this form.

If you have any questions about this information, please contact Dean Jue at jue@naba.org, or give him a call at (850) 386-1393 (Leave a message if necessary and Dean will get back to you shortly). Thank you very much for your help on this important NABA/Texas Parks and Wildlife project that will make Texas a better place to live for butterflies and future generations of Texans.