Observation of the week – June 19-25, 2021

Hi butterfly fans! We’re bringing you this OOTW a little bit late – the long weekend and vacations have slowed us down a bit.

The seventh OOTW of the 2021 Blitz is a butterfly that you may find while out for a hike in a mixed woods or deciduous forest – the Northern Pearly-eye. This Northern Pearly-eye was observed by Carl-Adam (@carl-adam) at CVC’s Silver Creek Conservation Area.

The Northern Pearly-eye is a very common species found throughout Central and Eastern Canada ranging from Alberta to Nova Scotia. This medium sized butterfly can be identified by its soft brown, scalloped wings, and large brown spots (also known as “eyes”). As you can see in Carl-Adam’s observation, these brown spots are more detailed on the underside of the butterfly as the “eyes” have a brown center with a white pupil (dot), followed by a yellow, brown, and white ring - unlike the top which has a dark brown eye with a white ring.

As a caterpillar, the Northern Pearly-eye is very distinguishable by its bright yellow-green body measuring up to 1 ¾” long with narrow yellow stripes, two tiny, red-tipped tails and two red-tipped horns on its head. Northern Pearly-eye caterpillars eat grasses such as bottlebrush grass and river oats. As adults, they rarely feed on the nectar of flowers since they have short proboscises (mouthparts). Instead, they can be spotted gathering nutrients from sources such as mud, tree sap, decaying food and even dung.

Northern Pearly-eyes can easily be mistaken for some other forest dwelling, shade-loving butterflies such as the Appalachian Brown and Little Wood-Satyr. There is one clue you can use without having to see the butterfly up close. Can you guess what it might be? … it’s flight pattern! The Northern Pearly-eye is known for having a very confusing flight pattern which is exactly how Carl-Adam was able to identify “a large brown species with an erratic flight moving swiftly along the edge of a deciduous forest” before even catching it!

As a working ecologist, Carl-Adam has an interest in identifying all that surrounds him, so it is no surprise that he was out intentionally seeking butterflies with his trusted bug net. Upon catching the specimen, Carl-Adam gently placed the butterfly in a container (seen in the observation photo) and like many of us – whether you are an ecologist, nature enthusiast, or simply curious about what you are looking at – referred to his field guides to accurately identify his catch.

CVC’s many conservation areas sustain diverse ecosystems - such as tall grass prairie at Upper Credit CA, coastal wetlands at Rattray Marsh CA and intact deciduous forest at Silver Creek CA. If you are looking for a specific butterfly or searching for a new species, consider visiting these areas. You never know what you might find!

As we enter the prime butterflying days of summer, we encourage you to continue the search for butterflies within the Credit River Watershed and contribute your observations to the Butterfly Blitz project.

Post written by Lily Vuong, Crew Leader, Community Outreach

Anotado por lltimms lltimms, 05 de julio de 2021 a las 05:11 PM

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