Conserve Wildlife Blog

Keeping Wildlife Range Maps Current

September 2nd, 2012


By Michael Davenport, Marine Species & GIS Programs Manager

The former and revised range maps for the Checkered White butterfly in New Jersey.

Just as world maps get updated with the addition of new countries (most recently South Sudan in 2011), wildlife range maps also need to be revised occasionally as new information becomes available.

There are 173 range maps available on Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s on-line field guide web pages for New Jersey’s endangered, threatened, and special concern species.  Although some of these maps were created only two years ago, 23 range maps were in need of minor to major revisions since new data had become available.  The range maps are based upon data within the NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s Biotics database, the official statewide database of rare wildlife.  While some new data was received from biologists’ surveys, a portion of it was received from the general public who submitted Rare Wildlife Sighting Report Forms for their own personal observations.

One of the most striking range map revisions is the Checkered White Butterfly.  Previously documented only at Newark Airport, this species has now also been documented in southern New Jersey.  Whether or not this disjunct population has been there all these years and not reported (flying under the radar so to speak), or this represents a recent natural range expansion or introduction is unknown at this point.

Take a tour of our on-line field guide – revised maps are labeled “2012”.

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