Martha’s Vineyard Atlas of Life

The Martha’s Vineyard Atlas of Life seeks to create a living catalogue of the island’s biodiversity and an active community working to conserve it.

Martha’s Vineyard Atlas of Life

A coastal location, with glacial origins, and unique cultural history.

Martha’s Vineyard Atlas of Life

Martha’s Vineyard supports an astonishing array of rare species, distinctive natural communities, and productive habitat types.

Co-founded by

We Welcome Your Observations

The easiest way to share your observations or to explore what other naturalists are finding around the Island, is through our Martha’s Vineyard Atlas of Life project on iNaturalist. All iNaturalist records from the Vineyard enter the project automatically, available for anyone from scientists to tourists to explore.

You can view project data by clicking below, or sign up with iNaturalist to begin adding your sightings…

Be a Citizen Scientist and Share your Observations

Use the links below to access important citizen science databases. These sites leverage the knowledge of millions of amateur and professional naturalists. Contribute your own sightings; explore data contributed by other observers.


Bringing together the efforts of more than 4 million users worldwide, iNaturalist is a database of more almost 70 million observations documenting more than a third of a million species! Explore data from around the world; set up an account and contribute to this global effort through your computer or via a smartphone app. A joint project of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, iNaturalist is a fun and powerful way to learn about biodiversity.


A project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, eBird compiles more than 100 million bird sightings annually. Simple user interfaces, including a convenient mobile app, make contributing data easy. Powerful analytical tools let users explore distribution and trends in bird populations. Expert review ensures data integrity. eBird is the most powerful way for birders to contribute their skills to the conservation and scientific study of birds.


eButterfly is an international, data-driven project dedicated to butterfly biodiversity, conservation, education. A simple way to keep track of your own sightings, eButterly also combines the observations of thousands of naturalists to track changes in butterfly distribution and support conservation of these fascinating insects. Every sighting matters!

Focus on Butterflies

One of the easiest and most popular groups of wildlife to explore, butterflies are also ecologically important. Many kinds of butterflies have very specific ecological requirements, making them good indicator species. And all butterflies play important biological roles, whether as prey for other insects and birds or as pollinators of wildflowers and fruit-bearing shrubs. Here are some resources to help you learn about the 82 species of butterflies that have been recorded on Martha’s Vineyard.

Introduction to the Butterflies of Martha’s Vineyard

Delivered as Webinar in May 2021, this presentation summarizes important aspects of butterfly biology and ecology. It also introduces important concepts for butterfly identification and includes photographs of many of the butterfly species found on Martha’s Vineyard.

A Checklist of Martha’s Vineyard Butterflies

This helpful tool lists the 82 butterfly species known from Martha’s Vineyard, summarizes their current status, and outlines the times of year when species can be expected and the habitat types they prefer. Compiled from sources ranging from historical documents to current observations, this checklist is intended to be a helpful guide for both beginning observers and more serious students of Lepidoptera.

The Elfins

The elfins – a small, specialized group of species in hairstreak family, or Lycaenidae – can pose daunting identification challenges in the field. The Vineyard only has four species of elfins, but they are found in the same habitat and their adults are all active in the same period in spring. We’ve prepared this simple guide to help identify the Vineyard’s elfin species.

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