Based on the examination of approximately 8100 specimens of Lepidoptera in the collection of the National Museum of Natural History and a review of relevant literature, we document 836 species in 488 genera and 48 families from Plummers Island, Maryland. Although the Lepidoptera are probably the best studied insect order on Plummers Island, data from the Washington, D.C. area indicate that there likely are many more microlepidoptera and butterflies on the site that are yet to be documented. Most families that were sampled adequately both historically (1901–1920) and in recent years (1998–2005) show a reduction in species richness and considerable species turnover. However, interpretation of these data is difficult owing to differences in sampling techniques and sampling frequency over the last 100 years.
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