• Lush vegetation on the top of Spectacle Island's North drumlin dominates the foreground. Boston's skyline can be seen in the distance.  The park's logo with tag line minutes away, worlds apart empashises the stark contrast between the city and islands.

    Boston Harbor Islands

    National Recreation Area Massachusetts

Inventory of Macrolepidoptera and Other Insects in the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area

Mark J. Mello
 
Publishied in Northeastern Naturalist: Vol. 12, No. sp3, pp. 99–144

Fourteen islands within the Boston Harbor Islands national park area were surveyed for Lepidoptera, Odonata, and tiger beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae: Cicindelinae) on 67 nights during 2001 and 2002 as part of a five-year inventory of the natural resources of the park. A total of 394 macrolepidopteran species and 166 microlepidopteran species were documented nocturnally, and 51 species of butterflies, 10 of odonates, and 1 tiger beetle were observed during the daytime. Two moths listed in the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act were documented: Spartiniphaga inops (Grote) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Amphipyrinae) and Abagrotis nefascia (J.B. Smith) (Noctuidae: Noctuinae). S. inops is resident on Worlds End, and A. nefascia on Lovells Island. Although two grassland-affiliated genera, Apamea Ochsenheimer (Noctuidae: Amphipyrinae) and Leucania Ochsenheimer (Noctuidae: Hadeninae), were well represented (13 and 8 species, respectively), the total number of macrolepidopteran species was low given the sampling effort and variety of habitats surveyed. Ambient light from Boston and surrounding cites as well as the high percentage of non-native vegetation on many of the islands are two possible factors, in addition to island biogeographic effects, resulting in reduced diversity.

Did You Know?

Graves Light

On September 1, 1905, Elliot Hadley lit the most powerful light in Massachusetts at the top of Graves Lighthouse, now in Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. The first-order Fresnel lens aided in navigation and allowed for safe passage into Boston Harbor. More...