There is a growing concern around the world for the protection, the monitoring, and the conservation of butterfly species. Butterflies are more than just beautiful creatures and are irreplaceable in the ecosystem, should butterflies one day become a thing of the past. “Butterflies, because they are so noticeable, often act as bell-wether for scientists to determine if a habitat is under threat.”1

In Canada, a land with so much wilderness and diversity, most butterfly species are not in extreme danger at present. Some however, for example the Karner Blue, have become extirpated in Canada, meaning they no longer exist in the Canadian wild, but can be found elsewhere. The greatest danger butterflies face is the destruction of their native habitat, as well as the use of insecticides. Many butterflies often depend on very specific plants for their larva and then for feeding as they become adults. Provincial parks, conservation areas, butterfly gardens, people who refrain from collecting butterflies etc., all contribute to the conservation of butterflies. In Canada, the area of southern Ontario supports the most endangered butterfly species.2

Fragile butterfly species found in Canada include the

  • Karner Blue
  • Giant Swallowtail
  • Spicebush Swallowtail
  • American Snout
  • Hackberry Emperor
  • Dakota Skipper
  • Poweshiek Skipper
  • Regal Fritillary
  • Large Marble
  • Edith’s Checkerspot
  • Moss’s Elfin
  • Mormon Metalmark
  • Behr’s Hairstreak
  • and Sooty Hairstreak 3

Butterflies are facing threats, but they are not alone. Naturalists, scientists, and the general public are showing their concern for the species. There are many organizations in Canada, the United States and world wide that have devoted themselves to the protection and conservation of the butterflies. The list that follows is not extensive, but has a great amount of useful and informative information available.
 

Organizations

Butterfly Conservation http://www.butterfly-conservation.org/

Butterfly Conservation Europe http://www.bc-europe.eu

Butterfly Conservation Initiative http://www.butterflyrecovery.org/

Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory http://www.cambridgebutterfly.com/

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada http://www.cosewic.gc.ca/

Nature Canada http://www.naturecanada.ca/

North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) http://www.nappc.org/

World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada) http://www.wwf.ca/

Xerces Society http://xerces.org/
 


 

  1. Layberry, Ross A, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. Eds. The Butterflies of Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1998. 18.
  2. Ibid
  3. Layberry, Ross A, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. Eds. The Butterflies of Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1998. 19.