Reproduction and Development
Butterfly populations are controlled by inclement weather, diseases, parasites, predators and habitat suitability. Cool, sunless summers and mild, damp winters are particularly detrimental. Birds consume many caterpillars and adults, while DRAGONFLIES and SPIDERS also take their toll. Diseases can be particularly rife when population densities are high, but the many parasitic FLIES and WASPS that regularly prey on caterpillars probably exert the greatest natural control.
Larvae of some species of blues and hairstreaks are tended by ANTS for the honeydew they secrete, and probably receive some protection from other insects. Natural controls are necessary and probably do not threaten the existence of butterflies. However, destruction of natural habitats, large-scale spraying to control INSECT PESTS and, possibly, ACID RAIN are man-made hazards that could have far-reaching detrimental effects on Canada's butterfly fauna.
Interaction with Humans
Butterflies are useful in plant pollination, in providing food for other creatures, and as indicators of environmental stability. They are a source of scientific and recreational interest, bringing charm and beauty to wherever they live. See also MONARCH BUTTERFLY.
Author BERNARD S. JACKSON
Links to Other Sites
This site examines the status of butterfly species in New Brunswick.
Canadian Biodiversity Website
A great information source for all budding biologists. Learn about biodiversity theory, natural history, and conservation issues. From McGill’s Redpath Museum.
Butterflies North and South
Learn about the natural history of Canadian butterfly species and planting butterfly gardens at this extensive Virtual Museum of Canada website.
An extensively illustrated guide to wildlife species found in British Columbia. Covers bats, birds, beetles, bugs and much more. Also features an insect glossary and notes about invasive species. A biogeographic initiative of the Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, UBC.
The Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes
This website provides information about the scope and contents of the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes. Check the “Index” link for illustrated descriptions of various taxonomic groups.
Monarch butterflies not feeling the love
A news story about the impact of seasonal temperatures on Monarch butterfly populations. From thestar.com.
Captive Breeding and Reintroduction
Click on the animal names at the bottom of the page to find out more about the Toronto Zoo's captive breeding and reintroduction programs for rare and endangered species.
University of Alberta's E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum
Check out images and information about insect specimens found in the University of Alberta's E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum, one of the most significant insect collections in Canada.
Aquatic Invertebrates of Alberta Online Textbook
An online guide to all major groups of Alberta's aquatic invertebrates. Offers illustrated details of the natural history of each group as well as tips on collecting and preserving specimens. A University of Alberta website.
Toronto Entomologists' Association
This site features an illustrated online guide to the insects of Ontario and an Ontario Butterfly Atlas.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...