30 Butterfly Species in Canada
As you explore the diverse natural landscapes of Canada, you’re sure to encounter some of the country’s beautiful butterfly species.
There are over 300 different species found in Canada, with each one unique and captivating in its own way.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to 30 of the most common and breathtaking butterfly species inhabiting various regions across the country.
Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio canadensis)
The Canadian Tiger Swallowtail is a stunning butterfly species that can be found all across Canada.
As the name suggests, this butterfly has distinctive tiger-like stripes, making it easily recognizable.
- Habitat: You can spot these beauties in various habitats, from deciduous and mixed wood forests to suburban gardens and parks.
- Appearance: The wings of the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail are predominantly yellow with black stripes, resembling the fur pattern of a tiger. They also possess long, elegant tails on their hindwings.
- Size: With a wingspan ranging from 6 to 11 cm, these butterflies are considered medium to large.
- Diet: Their main source of nutrition is nectar from a variety of flowers like lilacs and wild cherry blossoms.
- Reproduction: Mating occurs in May and June, resulting in caterpillars that transform into beautiful butterflies.
- Lifespan: These butterflies have a short adult lifespan of 7 to 14 days.
- Host Plants: The caterpillars primarily feed on the leaves of various species of aspen, poplar, and willow trees.
The Canadian Tiger Swallowtail is an exquisite butterfly species that brings a touch of grace and beauty to the Canadian landscape.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is a truly remarkable butterfly species native to Canada. Its enchanting beauty and fascinating traits make it a pleasure to observe.
- Habitat: Found primarily in woodlands, gardens, and near streams, these butterflies thrive in both urban and rural areas.
- Appearance: With their predominantly yellow wings marked with black stripes resembling a tiger’s fur, it’s easy to see where the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail gets its name. They also have blue and orange markings near the bottom edges of their wings and elegantly elongated tails.
- Size: This species has a wingspan of 7.5-12.5 cm, making it one of the larger Canadian butterfly species.
- Diet: As adults, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails feed on nectar from various flowers, while the caterpillars primarily consume leaves.
- Reproduction: Mating occurs in the spring and summer months. Females lay their eggs on host plants, usually on leaves’ undersides.
- Lifespan: Considering their short adult life of only two weeks, they have a relatively quick lifecycle.
- Host Plants: The caterpillars of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail feed on the leaves of many different trees and shrubs, including wild cherry, tulip poplar, and sweet bay.
This species’ captivating appearance and intriguing behaviors make it an undeniable favorite among butterfly enthusiasts and a true symbol of the beauty found in Canada’s diverse ecosystems.
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
The Black Swallowtail is a fascinating butterfly species you can find in Canada. It’s an elegant creature, and getting to know about its characteristics will surely pique your interest.
Let’s dive deeper into the world of the Black Swallowtail and uncover its secrets.
- Habitat: You can find these beautiful butterflies in open habitats, including meadows, fields, and gardens. They also enjoy the nectar of various flowers.
- Appearance: They have striking black wings with yellow markings along the edges and a row of blue spots between the yellow markings. Females have more blue on their hindwings.
- Size: Black Swallowtails have a wingspan of about 7-10 centimeters, making them relatively large and easily noticeable.
- Diet: Adult butterflies typically feed on the nectar of flowers like milkweed, thistles, and dandelions, while caterpillars munch on leaves, particularly from the parsley family.
- Reproduction: Females lay round, pale green eggs on host plants. Once hatched, the caterpillars develop through five stages before transforming into pupae.
- Lifespan: Adults live for about 2-4 weeks, while the entire life cycle from egg to adult lasts around 40-60 days.
- Host Plants: Some common host plants for Black Swallowtails include parsley, dill, fennel, and carrot. Planting these in your garden can attract these graceful butterflies.
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
The Monarch butterfly is a well-known and iconic species found throughout Canada, from coast to coast.
Strikingly beautiful, Monarchs are easily recognized by their bright orange wings with black veins and white spots along the edges.
These amazing butterflies embark on an incredible journey each year, as they migrate thousands of kilometres to reach their wintering grounds in Mexico.
- Habitat: Monarchs are found in a variety of habitats, including meadows, fields, marshes, and roadsides. They are especially drawn to areas with milkweed, their primary food source as caterpillars.
- Appearance: The wings of a Monarch butterfly are primarily orange with black veins and white spots along the edges.
- Size: Adult Monarchs typically have a wingspan ranging from 8.6 to 12.4 cm (3.4 to 4.9 inches).
- Diet: Adult Monarch butterflies primarily feed on the nectar of various flowers. As caterpillars, they feed exclusively on milkweed leaves.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on milkweed plants. The eggs hatch into caterpillars, which then transform into pupae before becoming adult butterflies.
- Lifespan: Adult Monarchs typically live for 2 to 6 weeks, although the generation that migrates to Mexico can live for up to 8 months.
- Host Plants: Milkweed species (Asclepias spp.) are the primary host plants for Monarch caterpillars, providing both food and a place for females to lay their eggs.
White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis)
The White Admiral is a fascinating butterfly species native to Canada. Ranging from coast to coast, it’s a favorite among nature enthusiasts and lepidopterists for its elegant and striking appearance.
- Habitat: White Admirals favor deciduous or mixed forests, and you’ll often find them near forest edges or along woodland trails.
- Appearance: The upper side of its wings display a dark blue or black color with wide, white bands. The underside reveals a mix of brown, tan, and blue hues, giving it a camouflage effect.
- Size: This butterfly species typically has a wingspan of 6-8 centimeters.
- Diet: They primarily feed on nectar from flowers such as milkweed, dogbane, and lilac.
- Reproduction: Mating takes place in June and July, with females laying eggs on host plants to ensure caterpillars have a food source when they hatch.
- Lifespan: As an adult, the White Admiral has a life expectancy of approximately two weeks.
- Host Plants: The larval stage of this butterfly predominantly feeds on willow, birch, and poplar trees.
Next time you’re exploring a Canadian forest, keep an eye out for the White Admiral, as it’s a delightful sight to behold.
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
The Red Admiral is one of the most striking butterfly species you can find in Canada.
This beautiful creature is not only found in Canada but also in the United States, Mexico, and even Europe.
- Habitat: Red Admirals are usually found in wooded areas or around gardens, as they are drawn to flowering plants.
- Appearance: The upper side of their wings have a black base color with contrasting bright red bands and white spots.
- Size: They are medium-sized butterflies, with an average wingspan ranging from 45 to 50mm.
- Diet: Their favorite food source is the nectar of various flowers, but they are also known to feed on rotting fruit and even sap from trees.
- Reproduction: Red Admirals have multiple broods per year, with females laying eggs individually on the leaves of host plants.
- Lifespan: Adults generally live for about two to three weeks, though some can survive for longer periods in warmer climates.
- Host Plants: The caterpillars of the Red Admiral feed primarily on nettles, but they can also use other plants such as hops and false nettle.
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
The Painted Lady is yet another beautiful butterfly species that calls Canada its home. This butterfly has a unique quality as it is one of the most widespread butterfly species in the world.
Keep reading to discover some interesting facts about the Painted Lady.
- Habitat: Painted Ladies can be found in almost any type of environment. They are known to reside in meadows, gardens, and even disturbed areas.
- Appearance: Their wings are characterized by vibrant colors, featuring a stunning mix of orange, brown, black, and white patterns.
- Size: Painted Ladies typically have a wingspan of 5 to 9 centimeters, making them medium-sized butterflies.
- Diet: These butterflies love to feast on a variety of nectar-rich plants, including asters, thistles, and milkweed.
- Reproduction: Female Painted Ladies lay single eggs on host plants, where the larvae feed and eventually transform into pupae.
- Lifespan: The adult Painted Lady has a comparatively short lifespan, typically living for two to four weeks.
- Host Plants: Their caterpillars feed on plants like thistles, hollyhock, and even some legumes, which provide the necessary nutrients for their growth and development.
Now that you’re familiar with the Painted Lady, you can better appreciate its presence during your next butterfly sighting in Canada!
Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)
The Clouded Sulphur is a common and widespread butterfly species in Canada.
They are often found in environments like meadows, wastelands, and roadsides, where they can have access to a variety of flowers.
- Habitat: Meadows, fields, wastelands, gardens, and roadsides
- Appearance: Yellow wings with a black border, which makes it easy to identify
- Size: Wingspan ranging from 32 to 54mm
- Diet: Primarily nectar from various flowers, such as dandelions, asters, and clovers
- Reproduction: Mating in the fall, and the females later lay greenish-yellow eggs on host plants
- Lifespan: Adult life is short, usually 2 to 3 weeks
- Host Plants: Common host plants include alfalfa, white clover, and vetches
The Clouded Sulphur is a fascinating butterfly species to discover in Canada.
Next time you go out for a walk in a natural environment, take a closer look at the butterfly fluttering nearby – it might just be a beautiful Clouded Sulphur!
Alfalfa Butterfly (Colias eurytheme)
The Alfalfa Butterfly, also known as the Orange Sulphur, is a common butterfly species found throughout Canada.
This butterfly is known for its striking coloration and affinity for alfalfa fields.
- Habitat: Alfalfa butterflies can be found in meadows, grasslands, and agricultural fields, especially those containing alfalfa plants.
- Appearance: The upperside of their wings feature a vibrant orange color with black margins and spots. The underside is more muted, with a yellowish or greenish hue and small black markings.
- Size: Their wingspan ranges from 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5 centimeters), making them a medium-sized butterfly.
- Diet: Adult alfalfa butterflies feed on the nectar of various flowering plants, while the caterpillars feed primarily on alfalfa leaves.
- Reproduction: After mating, females lay single eggs on the host plants. Caterpillars go through multiple instar stages before transforming into chrysalises.
- Lifespan: The adult butterflies generally live for around two weeks, with multiple generations occurring throughout the summer.
- Host Plants: Alfalfa is the primary host plant, but other leguminous plants, such as clovers, may also be utilized.
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)
The Orange Sulphur, also known as the Alfalfa Butterfly, is a delightful butterfly species native to Canada.
These stunning creatures add a splash of color to the landscape with their bright orange-yellow wings.
Let’s explore some more facts and features of this vibrant butterfly:
- Habitat: Orange Sulphurs favor open areas such as meadows, fields, roadsides, and gardens where nectar sources and host plants are present.
- Appearance: They have bright orange-yellow wings with black markings on the upper surface. Males have a black edged border, while females have a more complex pattern of black spots and streaks.
- Size: The average wingspan of the Orange Sulphur ranges from 1.5 to 3 inches (3.8 to 7.6 cm).
- Diet: Adult butterflies feed on nectar from a variety of flowers, including asters, red clover, thistles, and goldenrods.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the underside of host plant leaves. After about a week, the caterpillar hatches and feeds on the host plant.
- Lifespan: The adult butterfly has a lifespan of around two to four weeks.
- Host Plants: The primary host plants of Orange Sulphur caterpillars are alfalfa, white clover, and vetch.
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell (Aglais milberti)
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell, scientifically known as Aglais milberti, is a fascinating butterfly species that can be found in various regions of Canada.
It is a member of the Nymphalidae family and is known for its striking appearance and interesting life cycle.
If you ever find yourself exploring the Canadian wilderness, be sure to look out for this beautiful creature.
Here’s some information on Milbert’s Tortoiseshell:
- Habitat: Found in a wide range of habitats, from wooded areas to open meadows and even gardens.
- Appearance: This butterfly is known for its orange and black coloring, with a white fringe on the edges of its wings and blue spots near the wingtips.
- Size: The wingspan of Milbert’s Tortoiseshell ranges between 45-60 millimeters.
- Diet: Adult butterflies typically feed on nectar, while caterpillars prefer to munch on stinging nettle leaves.
- Reproduction: They lay their eggs in clusters on the leaves of host plants. After about a week, caterpillars emerge and start feeding on the leaves of their host plants.
- Lifespan: The lifespan of Milbert’s Tortoiseshell varies, but adults can live for up to roughly 1 month.
- Host Plants: Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is the main host plant for this species, providing food for the caterpillars during their growth phase.
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell is an exquisite butterfly that graces the Canadian landscape, offering a glimpse of nature’s beauty for those who happen upon it.
Green Comma (Polygonia faunus)
The Green Comma is a beautiful butterfly native to Canada that showcases unique characteristics, making it an intriguing species to observe and study.
Below are highlights about the Green Comma, which will help you understand its features and lifestyle better.
- Habitat: The Green Comma can be found living in mountainous regions, forests and particularly enjoys areas with berry bushes and wildflowers.
- Appearance: This butterfly sports a vibrant blend of orange and brown colors on the upperside with a distinctive green pattern on the underside of the wings.
- Size: The average wingspan of Green Comma butterflies ranges from 40 to 50 mm in width, making it a medium-sized species.
- Diet: These butterflies feed mostly on tree sap and sometimes fruits, aphid honeydew, or even carrion.
- Reproduction: Green Commas undergo one brood per year, laying their eggs on the leaves of their host plants during early to mid-summer.
- Lifespan: Generally, Green Comma butterflies live for a few weeks after emerging from their chrysalis stage, with some surviving a few months.
- Host Plants: The larvae of Green Commas are known to feed on the leaves of plants such as gooseberries, azaleas, and currants.
Take a moment to appreciate the fascinating beauty and distinct characteristics of the Green Comma, a remarkable butterfly native to Canada.
Gray Comma (Polygonia progne)
The Gray Comma (Polygonia progne) is a fascinating butterfly species native to Canada. Found in various regions, this butterfly is easily recognized by its distinct wing patterns.
As you learn more about Gray Commas, you’ll undoubtedly be intrigued by their unique features, lifecycle, and habits.
- Habitat: Primarily found in woods, bogs, and swamps, the Gray Comma prefers damp and cool settings. They are also known to inhabit mixed and coniferous forests.
- Appearance: Characterized by its orange and brown wings, this butterfly species is recognized by the silver comma-shaped mark on the underside of its hindwings. It also exhibits jagged edges on its wings.
- Size: With a wingspan of approximately 4.4-5.1 cm (1.7-2 inches), the Gray Comma is a medium-sized butterfly.
- Diet: As adults, Gray Commas feed on tree sap, rotting fruit, and carrion. The caterpillar feeds on leaves of various plants, including currant and gooseberry.
- Reproduction: Between May and June, females lay their eggs on the leaves of host plants. The young caterpillars emerge and feed throughout the summer months.
- Lifespan: Like many butterfly species, the Gray Comma has a relatively short lifespan, ranging from several weeks to a few months.
- Host Plants: As larvae, the Gray Comma caterpillar feeds on several plants, including Ribes spp. (currant and gooseberry) and elm trees.
Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)
Mourning Cloak is a fascinating butterfly species that is well-known for its unique coloration and interesting life cycle.
Here are some key features about this butterfly:
- Habitat: Mourning Cloaks can be found in various environments, such as forests, parks, and gardens throughout Canada and North America.
- Appearance: This butterfly is easily recognizable by its dark brown wings with cream-colored edges and blue spots along the margins.
- Size: The Mourning Cloak has a wingspan of 60 to 95 mm, making it one of the larger butterfly species in Canada.
- Diet: Adult Mourning Cloaks primarily feed on tree sap, rotting fruits, and sometimes flower nectar.
- Reproduction: These butterflies have one brood per year. The females lay their eggs in clusters on tree branches, mainly on willows and poplars.
- Lifespan: The Mourning Cloak boasts one of the longest lifespans among butterflies, with adults living up to 10 months.
- Host Plants: The caterpillars feed on a variety of trees, such as willows, poplars, and elm trees.
Now that you know more about the Mourning Cloak butterfly, keep an eye out for this fascinating creature next time you’re exploring nature!
Compton Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis vaualbum)
The Compton Tortoiseshell is a fascinating butterfly species found in Canada.
If you come across this unique creature, here are some specifics to help you identify and appreciate it even more:
- Habitat: These butterflies primarily inhabit deciduous and mixed forests containing willow and poplar trees. They also dwell in swampy areas in northern regions of Canada.
- Appearance: Compton Tortoiseshells have beautifully patterned wings with shades of orange, yellow, and brown, accompanied by dark outlines and white spots on their dorsal side. Meanwhile, their ventral side has a cryptic, bark-like pattern.
- Size: They usually have a wingspan that ranges from 55 to 70 mm, making them a medium-sized butterfly species.
- Diet: Nymphalis vaualbum adults feed on tree sap, overripe fruit, and sometimes flower nectar. Caterpillars primarily consume willow and poplar leaves.
- Reproduction: Female butterflies lay batches of eggs on the branches of host plants. The eggs hatch into caterpillars that eventually pupate and turn into adult butterflies.
- Lifespan: Adult Compton Tortoiseshells can live up to several months, with some overwintering to survive through to the following spring.
- Host Plants: Willow and poplar trees are crucial hosts for the Compton Tortoiseshell, providing both food sources and oviposition sites for the eggs.
Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)
The Viceroy butterfly is a fascinating and visually striking butterfly species that can be found in various regions across Canada.
They are well-known for their similarity to the iconic Monarch butterfly, but the Viceroy has some distinct characteristics that set it apart from its close cousin.
- Habitat: The Viceroy can be found in wetlands, meadows, and the edges of woodlands and forests.
- Appearance: This butterfly has a color pattern that is remarkably similar to the Monarch butterfly. Both have orange-yellow wings with black veins, but the Viceroy has a black band along the edge of its hind wings.
- Size: The Viceroy’s wingspan ranges between 6.5 and 7.5 cm.
- Diet: Adult Viceroys are nectar-feeders, favoring flowers from the Aster family, while their caterpillars feed on the leaves of willow, poplar, and cottonwood trees.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the leaves of host plants, where the larvae will feed and grow, undergoing several molts before forming a chrysalis to undergo metamorphosis.
- Lifespan: Adults typically live for about two weeks, but some individuals can live up to a month.
- Host Plants: Willow, poplar, and cottonwood trees are the primary host plants for Viceroy caterpillars.
Western White (Pontia occidentalis)
The Western White (Pontia occidentalis) is a beautiful yet subtle butterfly species native to Canada. This butterfly is quite common and undoubtedly a sight to behold.
Let’s dive into the fascinating life of the Western White butterfly:
- Habitat: Typically found in the forests and meadows of western Canada, from the Yukon to New Mexico
- Appearance: Possesses white wings with small black spots on the forewings and faint gray markings on the hindwings
- Size: Boasts a wingspan of about 38 to 57 millimeters, making it a medium-sized butterfly
- Diet: Enjoys sipping nectar from a variety of flowers, including those that are native to its habitat
- Reproduction: Engages in a courtship flight in which the male pursues the female before mating; the female then lays her eggs on host plants
- Lifespan: Has an average lifespan of about 2 to 3 weeks, although its entire life cycle, from egg to adult, may last up to 60 days
- Host Plants: Relies on plants from the mustard family, such as rock cress and bittercress, on which its caterpillars feed and develop
The life of the Western White butterfly is as captivating as its appearance. If you come across one in your travels, take a moment to appreciate its natural beauty and unique characteristics.
Pink-edged Sulphur (Colias interior)
The Pink-edged Sulphur (Colias interior) is a beautiful butterfly species that can be found in Canada. It adds a touch of charm and wonder to the Canadian landscape with its enchanting presence.
Let’s explore some interesting facts about this delicate creature:
- Habitat: Preferring cooler climates, the Pink-edged Sulphur can be found in bogs, swamps, and moist woodlands throughout eastern North America, including Canada.
- Appearance: This butterfly features a striking yellow-to-cream coloration on the upper side, with a characteristic pink edging on the wings. On the underside, they have a unique green pattern that helps with camouflage.
- Size: Typically, their wingspan ranges from 3.5 to 6.2 cm, making them a moderately-sized butterfly.
- Diet: They primarily feed on nectar from various flowers, such as goldenrod and asters.
- Reproduction: Mating occurs in late spring, with females laying eggs on the host plants. The eggs are small and green, with a ridged texture.
- Lifespan: Adult Pink-edged Sulphurs have a relatively short lifespan of around two weeks.
- Host Plants: Their larvae feed on a variety of plants in the blueberry family, particularly the bog laurel (Kalmia polifolia) and sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia).
The Pink-edged Sulphur is just one of the many remarkable butterfly species found in Canada that enriches its diverse ecosystem.
Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
The Pearl Crescent is an exquisite butterfly species native to parts of North America, including Canada.
Here’s some information about this beautiful creature:
- Habitat: This species can be found in open areas such as meadows, fields, grasslands, and gardens, often basking in the sun.
- Appearance: The Pearl Crescent displays orange and dark brown colors on the topside of their wings. The underwings exhibit mottled gray and brown patterns.
- Size: With a wingspan that ranges from 2.5 to 3.5 cm, the Pearl Crescent is a relatively small butterfly.
- Diet: As adults, they primarily feed on nectar from various flowers, including asters, and herbs. Their caterpillars feed on the leaves of their host plants.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs singly or in clusters on the host plant’s leaves. The eggs hatch in about a week, and the caterpillars then feed on the plant.
- Lifespan: The adult butterfly lives for about 2 to 3 weeks, while the complete life cycle takes around a month.
- Host Plants: The primary host plants for the Pearl Crescent are members of the aster family, such as the smooth aster and hairy white oldfield aster.
Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma)
The Eastern Comma is one of the fascinating butterfly species found in Canada. This butterfly has gained immense popularity due to its unique markings and habits.
Let’s dive in and learn more about this remarkable insect:
- Habitat: Eastern Commas are typically found in moist environments, such as woodlands or fields near streams and rivers. They can also be seen in urban parks and gardens.
- Appearance: Easily recognizable by its orange and black wings, this butterfly also features a distinct white or silvery comma-shaped mark on the underside of its hind wings.
- Size: Adults have a wingspan that ranges between 4.5 to 6.4 cm (1.75 to 2.5 inches).
- Diet: Eastern Commas feed on tree sap, rotting fruit, and occasionally flower nectar. Caterpillars consume the leaves of host plants.
- Reproduction: Mating occurs in spring, after which females lay their eggs on the leaves of host plants. They can produce up to three broods per year.
- Lifespan: Adult Eastern Commas have a relatively long lifespan compared to other butterflies, living up to several weeks or months.
- Host Plants: Eastern Comma caterpillars feed primarily on stinging nettles, false nettles, and hops.
Now that you are familiar with the Eastern Comma, make sure to keep an eye out for this unique butterfly next time you’re exploring Canada’s lush woodlands or gardens.
Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)
The Question Mark is a unique butterfly species known for its curious name that originates from a small, white question mark-shaped marking on its hindwing.
Let’s dive into this fascinating species and explore various aspects of its life.
- Habitat: As a North American native species, Question Marks are found in a wide variety of habitats such as woodlands, gardens, and even urban areas in Canada.
- Appearance: The wings of this species are predominantly orange with brownish-black spots and borders. The underside is more cryptic, featuring hints of grey, taupe, and brown hues for camouflage.
- Size: With a wingspan of about 4.5 to 7.5 cm, these butterflies are considered medium-sized.
- Diet: Nectar from flowers is their primary food source, but they have also been observed feeding on tree sap, rotting fruit, and even animal droppings.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs singly on host plants, which eventually hatch into spiky, black caterpillars.
- Lifespan: The adult butterflies typically live for around two weeks, with some individuals known to survive much longer.
- Host Plants: The caterpillars primarily feed on plants such as elms, nettles, and hops, making them essential for the species’ survival.
Northern Blue (Plebejus idas)
The Northern Blue (Plebejus idas) is a small and fascinating butterfly species found throughout Canada.
This beautiful butterfly is a member of the Lycaenidae family, making it a close relative of the Hairstreaks and Coppers.
Let’s dive a little deeper into its characteristics and natural history:
- Habitat: Typically found in meadows, grassy fields, and openings in the forest with abundant wildflowers.
- Appearance: Possesses a bright blue dorsal side with small white fringe, while the underside is mottled with various shades of brown and dotted with black spots, encircled by white.
- Size: Wingspan averages around 25-30 millimeters.
- Diet: As caterpillars, they feed on the leaves of their host plants, while adults sip nectar from flowers or extract nutrients from rotting vegetation.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on their host plants, and the hatched caterpillars feed on the leaves, leading to metamorphosis into the adult butterfly.
- Lifespan: Adults live for approximately two weeks.
- Host Plants: Preferred host plants include various species of lupine and other legume plants.
Northern Blue butterflies are fascinating creatures and a welcome addition to any Canadian garden or wildflower meadow.
By fostering their preferred habitats and host plants, you can help to protect and conserve this unique and important species.
Greenish Blue (Plebejus saepiolus)
The Greenish Blue butterfly is another fascinating species that is native to Canada.
These butterflies have a beautiful pale green color, making them an eye-catching addition to any environment they inhabit. If you are lucky enough to spot a Greenish Blue, take a moment to observe its unique characteristics.
Here is some information about this butterfly species:
- Habitat: They primarily enjoy grasslands, meadows, and open forests.
- Appearance: Greenish blue in color, the male has an iridescent turquoise blue hue, while the female has more dull greenish-gray upper wings with a row of black spots.
- Size: These small butterflies have a wingspan of 22-32mm.
- Diet: They feed on the nectar of various flowers, including legumes and asters.
- Reproduction: Mating occurs in summer, and females lay their eggs on the underside of host plant leaves.
- Lifespan: The average adult butterfly has a relatively short life of about 10-14 days.
- Host Plants: Greenish Blues use plants such as Lupines (Lupinus spp.) and Vetches (Vicia spp.) as host plants for their caterpillars.
Next time you find yourself wandering through a meadow or open forest in Canada, keep an eye out for the Greenish Blue butterfly.
Its unique appearance and interesting characteristics make it a species worth observing and appreciating.
Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon)
The Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) is a fascinating butterfly found across Canada.
There is a lot about this species to pique your interest, so let’s dive right in:
- Habitat: Spring Azures are commonly seen in forests, gardens, and parks. In fact, they thrive in a variety of environments, from sea level up to high mountain meadows.
- Appearance: This butterfly is recognized by its captivating powder-blue wings, with white borders and black spots on its wingtips. The underside of their wings is grayish-white.
- Size: The Spring Azure has a wingspan ranging from 21 to 33 millimeters, making it a relatively small butterfly.
- Diet: As adults, they feed on flower nectar, particularly enjoying dogwood, viburnum, and black cherry. Their caterpillars feed on the leaves and flowers of their host plants.
- Reproduction: Mating occurs during the early hours of spring afternoons, leading to eggs being laid individually on flower buds. The eggs then hatch into caterpillars around 6 days later.
- Lifespan: The Spring Azure has a relatively short lifespan, with adults living for a mere 5 to 10 days.
- Host Plants: Host plants of this butterfly include various species of wild cherry, dogwoods, and blueberries.
As you can see, the Spring Azure is a remarkable member of the Canadian butterfly population, with its striking appearance and interesting life cycle.
Gorgone Checkerspot (Chlosyne gorgone)
The Gorgone Checkerspot is a fascinating butterfly species that calls Canada home. It’s one of those creatures you’ll want to keep an eye out for when you’re exploring the great outdoors.
Here’s some information about this unique butterfly:
- Habitat: Gorgone Checkerspots prefer open areas, such as prairies and meadows. They can also be found in sunny clearings and woodland edges.
- Appearance: These butterflies showcase an intricate pattern of orange and black on their wings, with rows of white spots near the borders.
- Size: The Gorgone Checkerspot has a wingspan of 3.5 to 4.1 cm, making it a relatively small butterfly.
- Diet: They feed on nectar from various flowers, such as asters and dandelions.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the underside of host plants, typically in clusters.
- Lifespan: The average lifespan of a Gorgone Checkerspot is about one month.
- Host Plants: The primary host plant for the Gorgone Checkerspot is the Showy and Green Antennaria spp, also known as pussytoes.
As you explore the beautiful landscapes of Canada, be on the lookout for the Gorgone Checkerspot. Its striking appearance and interesting behaviors make it a captivating butterfly species.
Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)
The Silver-spotted Skipper is a fascinating butterfly species that captures the attention of butterfly enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
Here’s a closer look at this unique specimen:
- Habitat: Commonly found in open, sunny areas such as meadows, gardens, and roadsides, they are widespread across Canada and North America.
- Appearance: They boast a striking contrast of dark brown or black wings with a prominent silver spot on the lower hindwing, making them easy to identify.
- Size: With a wingspan ranging from 4 to 6 centimeters, they are considered medium-sized butterflies.
- Diet: The adult Silver-spotted Skipper mainly feeds on the nectar of flowering plants, while the caterpillars prefer to consume the leaves of their host plants.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs singly on host plants, and the caterpillars create leaf shelters for protection as they feed and grow.
- Lifespan: The adult butterflies have a lifespan of approximately 1 to 2 weeks, while the entire life cycle from egg to adult takes around 1 to 2 months.
- Host Plants: Some of their preferred host plants include black locust, honey locust, and other legume plants.
Peck’s Skipper (Polites peckius)
Peck’s Skipper is a fascinating butterfly species that is commonly found across Canada.
This unique species has several distinctive features that set it apart from others:
- Habitat: Peck’s Skipper prefers grassy areas such as fields, meadows, and even your backyard! They are known to thrive in sunny, open spaces with plenty of grasses and wildflowers.
- Appearance: This butterfly has a distinct orange and brown pattern with a checkered fringe on the wings. The underside of their wings is mostly light brown with faint white spots.
- Size: With a wingspan of about 25 to 30 mm, the Peck’s Skipper is quite small compared to other butterfly species.
- Diet: Adult Peck’s Skippers primarily feed on nectar from various flowers, with a preference for purple and blue species. The caterpillars, on the other hand, consume grasses and sedges.
- Reproduction: Mating occurs in the summer months, and females lay a couple of hundred eggs on the leaves of host plants.
- Lifespan: Peck’s Skippers have a relatively short life span, with adults living only about two weeks in the wild.
- Host Plants: In Canada, the preferred host plants for Peck’s Skipper are the native grasses and sedges, providing both food and shelter for the caterpillars.
Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistocles)
The Tawny-edged Skipper is a fascinating butterfly species you can find in Canada.
Here’s some quick information about this beautiful creature:
- Habitat: Tawny-edged Skippers prefer grassy areas, meadows, and wetlands with abundant host plants.
- Appearance: These butterflies have an orange border on their dark brown wings, with white spots on the forewing and orange spots on the hindwing.
- Size: They are small, with a wingspan of about 2.2 to 3.2 cm (0.9 to 1.3 inches).
- Diet: Adult Tawny-edged Skippers feed on the nectar from various flowers, while their caterpillars feed on grasses and sedges.
- Reproduction: Female skippers lay single eggs on host plants, and the caterpillars wrap themselves in a leaf shelter for protection.
- Lifespan: Adult Tawny-edged Skippers live for about a week to 10 days, while their caterpillar stage lasts for 2 to 3 weeks.
- Host Plants: These butterflies favor grasses like panic grass, bluegrass, and switchgrass as their host plants.
Keep an eye out for Tawny-edged Skippers during your next walk in a grassy area and appreciate their unique beauty!
Crossline Skipper (Polites origenes)
The Crossline Skipper is a fascinating butterfly species native to Canada.
Here’s a quick glimpse of what makes this butterfly unique:
- Habitat: Crossline Skippers are typically found in grassy areas, meadows, and woodland clearings. They prefer moist environments with plenty of sunlight.
- Appearance: This butterfly features a distinct pattern of orange and brown on its wings. The hindwings display a broad, pale band with a jagged edge, resembling a crossline.
- Size: With a wingspan of about 29 to 38 mm, the Crossline Skipper is considered a small to medium-sized butterfly.
- Diet: Adult Crossline Skippers feed on flower nectar, favoring plants like milkweed, thistles, and goldenrods.
- Reproduction: Mating occurs mainly during the summer months. Afterward, females lay single eggs on host plants, usually grasses.
- Lifespan: Adult Crossline Skippers enjoy a short life, typically living 2 to 3 weeks.
- Host Plants: The larvae primarily feed on several species of grasses, including Big Bluestem, Little Bluestem, and Switchgrass.
Keep an eye out for these captivating creatures next time you’re exploring Canada’s lush habitats!
Long Dash (Polites mystic)
The Long Dash, also known as Polites mystic, is a fascinating butterfly species that you can find in Canada.
Let’s explore some interesting facts about this exquisite creature:
- Habitat: Long Dash butterflies prefer open, moist habitats such as wet meadows, marshes, and fields.
- Appearance: They have orange-brown wings with a distinct pale band across the center and prominent black markings at the edges.
- Size: Adult Long Dash butterflies have a wingspan of about 3.3 to 4.6 cm.
- Diet: In their caterpillar stage, they feed on grasses. Adult butterflies enjoy nectar from a variety of flowers, such as dandelions and thistles.
- Reproduction: Female Long Dash butterflies lay their eggs on the leaves of suitable host plants, and the eggs hatch after about 10 days.
- Lifespan: The adult Long Dash butterfly has a typical lifespan of 2 to 3 weeks, depending on the weather and environmental conditions.
- Host Plants: Primary host plants for Long Dash caterpillars include grasses like panicgrass and crabgrass.
Now that you know more about the Long Dash butterfly, be sure to keep an eye out for them on your next outdoor adventure in Canada!
In summary, Canada is home to a fascinating variety of butterfly species, from the Tawny-edged Skipper to the Long Dash.
Exploring these incredible creatures can truly enhance your appreciation for the beauty and diversity of Canada’s natural world.
Don’t hesitate to share your own experiences and encounters with these butterflies in the comments below!