Eastern Iowans catch and release butterflies for research - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Eastern Iowans catch and release butterflies for research

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DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -

Some eastern Iowans want to help keep track of the number of butterflies in their area. Sunday afternoon, volunteers trekked through a prairie to catch, record and release several types of butterflies in the Mines of Spain area near Dubuque. This is the 8th year volunteers have come forward and helped catch butterflies for the Dubuque Audubon Society.  Butterfly catching and recording is done all over North America this time of year. Catching the butterflies allows the North American Butterfly Association to keep track of the butterflies all over North America and helps give an idea of how butterfly populations are doing.

Wayne Buchholtz is a park ranger and president of the Dubuque Audubon Society.

"It tells you, especially if you have a trend of certain butterflies are dropping, especially if their are a lot of them. It lets you know that something is going on out there in the environment. Then we need to start looking at why are these populations dropping. If it is just one year and the next year it comes back again, then it could be a seasonal thing. Maybe it was just so wet in particular areas that reproduction didn't take place or depending on the species." Buchholtz said.

Once all the data is recorded the information is sent on to the North American Butterfly Association.

"They keep those records from year to year and then use that data to determine or look at kinds of populations and if they are going up and down. They can try to determine why." Buchholtz said.

The Dubuque Audubon Society sponsored Sunday's event.

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