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Crystal Skipper Butterflies

Look closely to see the Crystal Skipper in the center of the photo.

Did you know that today is National Learn about Butterflies Day and that the Crystal Coast has its own species of butterfly?  The Crystal Skipper is a little-known butterfly found only in Carteret County along the shores of Bogue Banks. These butterflies have a two-week lifespan and live exclusively within a thirty-mile stretch of sand dunes from Fort Macon to Bear Island.

Since Crystal Skippers are indigenous to Carteret County and have such a limited geographical habitat, it is important to conserve them. Dr. Carol Price, instructor, NC State University and Conservation Research Coordinator, NC Aquariums, is leading a conservation team of NC State students in the Semester at CMAST program who are studying the butterflies this semester.

This conservation team sets up several observation sites along Bogue Banks to watch the Crystal Skippers during the two flight periods from April to May and again from July to August each year. The team conducts butterfly counts, vegetation surveys, and habitat restoration projects to help support the Crystal skipper population. In addition, Price and a colleague, Dr. Elsa Youngsteadt, professor at NCSU, have been awarded a National Science Foundation/Paul G. Allen Family Foundation Grant to study the Crystal skipper over the next several years.  Stay tuned for more conversation news on Crystal Skippers.