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Butterflies (Papilionoidea) Entomology

Top Ten Butterflies of Canada

Canada is home to a wide variety of butterfly species. Here are Top Ten examples:

10. Mourning Cloak Butterfly (Nymphalis antiopa)

This butterfly is easy to spot with its maroon wings edged with a row of blue spots and yellow or white line.

Mourning Cloak Butterfly (Nymphalis antiopa).

9. White Admiral Butterfly (Limenitis arthemis)

Recognizable by its contrasting black and white or red and white pattern.

White Admiral Butterfly (Limenitis arthemis).

8. Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly (Speyeria cybele)

This orange butterfly with black spots is found across Canada and the United States.

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly (Speyeria cybele) on Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca).

7. Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Butterfly (Aglais milberti)

This butterfly is small and has a unique pattern of orange and black, with a sharp, pointed appearance to its wings.

Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Butterfly (Aglais milberti).

6. Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta)

A medium-sized butterfly that is black, characterized by red bands on the forewings and hindwings.

Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta).

5. Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui)

This species is found worldwide, and it has a beautiful pattern of orange, brown, and black.

Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui) is a metropolitan Butterfly species.

4. Clouded Sulphur Butterfly (Colias philodice)

Also known as the common sulphur, it’s a yellow or white butterfly depending on the sex.

Clouded Sulphur Butterfly (Colias philodice).

3. Cabbage White Butterfly (Pieris rapae)

This small white and black butterfly is common across Canada and North America.

Cabbage White Butterfly (Pieris rapae).

2. Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio canadensis)

This large yellow and black butterfly is common in Canada and has a beautiful pattern.

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio canadensis) nectaring on Prunus species.

1. Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Known for its migration from Canada to Mexico, it’s recognizable for its orange and black pattern.

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus).

Remember that the distribution of these species can vary across Canada, with some species being more common in certain areas than others. It is also essential to note that the status of these butterflies can change over time due to factors like climate change, habitat loss, and human activity.

No matter where you are, there are local butterflies that need people to grow their required larval host plants. In this way, we can restore native plant species, and with them native insects, that will keep us all enchanted with nature… one day at a time!

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