Leps of Southwestern Ontario

Thursday, September 22, 2011
For the past couple of weeks I have been in Southwestern Ontario, working on a project focusing on two Species at Risk (SAR) animals (stay tuned for a blog posting about these critters) and several SAR plants. During my time here I have been amazed with the number and diversity of the butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera or Leps) in our study site. I have taken my camera out in the field with me a couple of times and snapped the below photos.



Banded Tussock Moth (Lophocampa caryae). A common caterpillar mid-June to late September.


Hickory Tussock Moth (Lophocampa caryae). A common caterpillars from June through September.


Hickory Tussock Moth (Lophocampa caryae).

Woolly Bear Caterpillar (Pyrrharctia isabella).  The adult is known as the Isabella Tiger Moth.


Yellow Bear Caterpillar (Spilosoma virginica). The adult moth is known as the Virginian Tiger Moth. This is a common caterpillar from June to September.


Smartweed Caterpillar (Acronicta oblinita). The adult moth is known as the Smeared Dagger Moth . Common caterpillars from May to September.


Ailanthus Webworm Moth (Atteva aurea).


Sweetheart Underwing Moth (Catocala ultronia).



Northern Crescent (Phyciodes cocyta). A common butterfly from mid-June to mid-July and September.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).


Viceroy (Limenitis archippus).

Monarch Caterpillar (Danaus plexippus).

Monarch (Danaus plexippus).


Monarch (Danaus plexippus).


Eastern Tailed Blue (Everes comyntas).

Eastern Tailed Blue (Everes comyntas).


Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae). These butterflies are some of the rarest in Ontario. Their range is restricted by their host plant Wild Indigo (Baptisia tinctoria); however recently they have been observed feeding on Crown-Vetch and Tick-Trefoil. These new food sources could potentially expand their range further in Ontario.


Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae). An outstanding Southern Ontario naturalist, Russ Jones, pointed these butterflies out to me one afternoon when my feet were surrounded by these little butterflies as we were walking. I had to carefully step around the butterflies. These butterflies don’t stay in one place for long and I was able to get some great shots as two were mating with one another and couldn’t go anywhere!


Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus). Another rare butterfly in Ontario, the Fiery Skipper is a resident of the Southern US, and Central and South America. Every year this species migrates and crosses into Southwestern Ontario.


Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus). 


Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia). Common Buckeyes are typically a rare butterfly in Canada. They migrate and cross over into Southern Ontario. Since I have been in Southwestern Ontario I have been seening Buckeye's daily.


Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia).


Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia).


Black Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio polyxenes).


Black Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio polyxenes).


Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes).

Some other confirmed Lep's I have observed, but have not yet had the opportunity to photograph include:
  • Virginia Ctenucha Moth (Ctenuchavirginica)
  • Least Skipper (Ancyloxyphanumitor)
  • Giant Swallowtail (Papiliocresphontes)
  • Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
  • Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme)
  • Clouded Sulphur (Coliasphilodice)
  • Mourning Cloak (Nymphalisantiopa)
Good Birding and Lep-ing!

~ Kristen Martyn

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