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Butterflies of the Kingston Study Area

Butterfly enthusiasts have been observing and studying butterflies for decades in the Kingston Study Area and there is a fairly definitive list of the species that can be found in the area. This list is presented further down the page. If you are new to butterflies, you might be interested to know that Butterflies (Superfamily Papilionoidea) are in the Order Lepidoptera lumped together with moths. The Superfamily Papilionoidea is divided into seven families of which five families are represented in the Kingston Study Area:

  • Skippers (Family Hesperiidae)
  • Gossamer-winged Butterflies (Family Lycaenidae)
  • Brush-footed Butterflies (Family Nymphalidae)
  • Swallowtails and Parnassians (Family Papilionidae)
  • Whites, Yellows, and Sulphurs (Family Pieridae)

The Kingston Study Area is a 50 km radius circle centered on the geodetic benchmark in City Park, Kingston, Ontario (44.225,-76.488056). Because the circle excludes some of Charleston Lake Provincial Park and Menzel Centennial Provincial Park is close to the edge, some KFN butterfly observers count records from those areas on their personal lists for the area.

The Kingston Field Naturalists discourages the collection of live specimens, and this may actually be illegal in certain areas (e.g. conservation areas, provincial parks, national parks). The best way to observe butterflies is with a pair of binoculars, a camera and/or a notebook. Many observers now upload their photo observations to iNaturalist. It is important that you collect date, time, and location data for your observations. Smart phone apps such as Geotag Photos Pro 2 will collect the location data for you to avoid wasting your camera battery.

Any observations added to iNaturalist get shared with the Ontario Butterfly Atlas automatically, so there is no need to submit them separately. Other observation sharing websites such as e-butterfly don’t have the same uptake as iNaturalist, but you are welcome to explore such places. Avoid duplicating observations on multiple websites. For more information about how to submit data to the Ontario Butterfly Atlas please see their “Contribute Your Ontario Butterfly Data” page.

For more information on, to learn more about, or to join someone looking for butterflies in the Kingston study area, please contact the KFN (info@kingstonfieldnaturalists.org) and your request will be passed onto the appropriate person.

You may also be interested in resources to help you learn about and identify butterflies in this area. The best resource at present is the ROM Field Guide to Butterflies of Ontario. There is also a locally produced booklet, the Pictorial Pocket Guide to the Butterflies of the Kingston Region. To acquire one of these, please email info@kingstonfieldnaturalists.org. There are several other suggestions on the Ontario Field Naturalist’s Toolchest.

The following list was extracted directly from the Ontario Butterfly Atlas and includes data up to and including 2021. The butterflies are listed in the taxonomic order used by the Toronto Entomologists’ Association. In browsing this list, one should pay close attention to the number of records and the latest year the butterfly was observed as some records are “one-offs” that either wandered into the area on a strong breeze or were historically found in the area, but are absent now. The number of records will also give you an idea of the rarity of the species in the area. Some butterfly species are only found in one or few spots, some are found in multiple areas, but are scarce, others can be found just about anywhere. Specific information, including location, on all records can be found on the Ontario Butterfly Atlas website.

Common Name Scientific Name # of Records Earliest Yr Latest Yr
Silver-spotted Skipper Epargyreus clarus 390 1970 2021
Northern Cloudywing Thorybes pylades 266 1968 2021
Dreamy Duskywing Erynnis icelus 70 1970 2021
Juvenal’s Duskywing Erynnis juvenalis 273 1969 2021
Horace’s Duskywing Erynnis horatius 1 1980 1980
Mottled Duskywing Erynnis martialis 1 1964 1964
Columbine Duskywing Erynnis lucilius 238 1963 2021
Wild Indigo Duskywing Erynnis baptisiae 175 2011 2021
Arctic Skipper Carterocephalus palaemon 76 1970 2021
Least Skipper Ancyloxypha numitor 514 1963 2021
European Skipper Thymelicus lineola 309 1868 2021
Fiery Skipper Hylephila phyleus 17 2012 2012
Leonard’s Skipper Hesperia leonardus 88 1966 2021
Indian Skipper Hesperia sassacus 101 1964 2021
Peck’s Skipper Polites peckius 110 1963 2021
Tawny-edged Skipper Polites themistocles 393 1939 2021
Crossline Skipper Polites origenes 70 1963 2021
Long Dash Skipper Polites mystic 151 1963 2021
Northern Broken-Dash Wallengrenia egeremet 151 1868 2021
Little Glassywing Pompeius verna 87 2004 2021
Sachem Atalopedes campestris 2 2012 2012
Delaware Skipper Anatrytone logan 112 2003 2021
Mulberry Wing Poanes massasoit 6 2015 2020
Hobomok Skipper Poanes hobomok 439 1963 2021
Broad-winged Skipper Poanes viator 89 1970 2021
Dion Skipper Euphyes dion 44 1971 2021
Two-spotted Skipper Euphyes bimacula 18 1971 2021
Dun Skipper Euphyes vestris 351 1963 2021
Common Roadside Skipper Amblyscirtes vialis 48 1970 2021
Pipevine Swallowtail Battus philenor 3 2012 2012
Black Swallowtail Papilio polyxenes 483 1908 2021
Eastern Giant Swallowtail Papilio cresphontes 1149 2007 2021
Midsummer Tiger Swallowtail Papilio canadensis X glaucus 431 1970 2021
Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Papilio canadensis 198 1971 2021
Mustard White Pieris oleracea 171 1967 2021
West Virginia White Pieris virginiensis 66 1978 2021
Cabbage White Pieris rapae 1737 1957 2021
Olympia Marble Euchloe olympia 110 1950 2021
Clouded Sulphur Colias philodice 1242 1963 2021
Orange Sulphur Colias eurytheme 282 1962 2021
Pink-edged Sulphur Colias interior 2 1964 2003
Little Yellow Pyrisitia lisa 14 1868 2012
Harvester Feniseca tarquinius 53 1946 2018
American Copper Lycaena phlaeas 94 1868 2021
Bronze Copper Lycaena hyllus 190 1920 2021
Bog Copper Lycaena epixanthe 32 1969 2021
Acadian Hairstreak Satyrium acadica 75 1963 2021
Coral Hairstreak Satyrium titus 65 1868 2021
Edwards’ Hairstreak Satyrium edwardsii 10 1969 2016
Banded Hairstreak Satyrium calanus 164 1941 2021
Hickory Hairstreak Satyrium caryaevorus 100 1951 2021
Striped Hairstreak Satyrium liparops 71 1941 2021
Juniper Hairstreak Callophrys gryneus 82 1972 2021
Brown Elfin Callophrys augustinus 6 1972 2021
Hoary Elfin Callophrys polios 42 1970 2021
Henry’s Elfin Callophrys henrici 120 1967 2021
Eastern Pine Elfin Callophrys niphon 153 1970 2021
White-M Hairstreak Parrhasius m-album 4 2012 2012
Gray Hairstreak Strymon melinus 72 1970 2021
Early Hairstreak Erora laeta 2 1974 2016
Eastern Tailed Blue Cupido comyntas 739 1966 2021
Northern Azure Celastrina lucia 701 1941 2021
Summer Azure Celastrina neglecta 6 2017 2020
Silvery Blue Glaucopsyche lygdamus 315 1970 2021
American Snout Libytheana carinenta 16 2013 2020
Variegated Fritillary Euptoieta claudia 1 2016 2016
Great Spangled Fritillary Speyeria cybele 287 1964 2021
Aphrodite Fritillary Speyeria aphrodite 78 1956 2021
Atlantis Fritillary Speyeria atlantis 5 1962 1990
Silver-bordered Fritillary Boloria selene 22 1969 2021
Meadow Fritillary Boloria bellona 135 1955 2021
Silvery Checkerspot Chlosyne nycteis 1 1996 1996
Harris’s Checkerspot Chlosyne harrisii 79 1970 2021
Pearl Crescent Phyciodes tharos 275 1970 2021
Northern Crescent Phyciodes cocyta 479 1955 2021
Tawny Crescent Phyciodes batesii 3 1993 2011
Baltimore Checkerspot Euphydryas phaeton 113 1969 2021
Question Mark Polygonia interrogationis 594 1951 2021
Eastern Comma Polygonia comma 878 1969 2021
Green Comma Polygonia faunus 3 2006 2018
Gray Comma Polygonia progne 292 1909 2021
Compton Tortoiseshell Nymphalis l-album 269 1969 2021
Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa 706 1961 2021
Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Aglais milberti 116 1964 2021
American Lady Vanessa virginiensis 366 1964 2021
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui 255 1981 2020
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta 1011 1969 2021
Common Buckeye Junonia coenia 75 1967 2020
White Admiral Limenitis arthemis arthemis 727 1960 2021
Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax 13 2014 2018
Viceroy Limenitis archippus 359 1964 2021
Hackberry Emperor Asterocampa celtis 19 1999 2020
Northern Pearly-Eye Lethe anthedon 278 1909 2021
Eyed Brown Lethe eurydice 186 1963 2021
Appalachian Brown Lethe appalachia 60 1993 2021
Little Wood-Satyr Megisto cymela 377 1961 2021
Common Ringlet Coenonympha tullia 504 1955 2021
Common Wood-Nymph Cercyonis pegala 465 1963 2021
Chryxus Arctic Oeneis chryxus 44 1969 2021
Monarch Danaus plexippus 1558 1963 2021