eButterfly News

Annual Monarch Breeding Population Size in Canada Linked to Spring Migration and Recolonization

New research published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution by scientists Tara Crewe (Bird Studies Canada), Greg Mitchell (Environment and Climate Change Canada) and Maxim Larrivée (Montréal Insectarium) highlights the importance of Canadian summer breeding habitat for the eastern North American migratory Monarch butterfly population. The study is based on 15 years of community science data collected by Canadian volunteers involved in long term efforts to monitor butterfly diversity trends in Canada. (more…)

A Crazy Place for Fritillaries

By Peter Hall, Scientific and administrative advisor to e-Butterfly

One of the most difficult groups of butterflies to identify, particularly in western North America, is that of the greater fritillaries. On a recent camping trip to Alberta and Montana, the butterflies in this large group were high among the list of butterfly target species I had set for myself. Many would be lifers – if I could find and identify them.  


Ten Steps to Better Butterfly Photography (new camera optional)

2015-06-26 DSC_8252_1Summer is here and many of us are eager to get out butterflying with our cameras to bring images home to share with our butterflying buddies. While I don’t fancy myself as an expert photographer, I sure love to photograph butterflies and other insects. I realized over time that many tricks I took for granted to approach butterflies were foreign to many naturalists especially those new to it. After sharing some tips on how to approach butterflies and better photograph them with friends and colleagues and seeing them come back with much improved results and more species than they use to find, I thought this might be helpful to share.

Here are my 10 steps to better butterfly photography. Note these tips apply to any kind of camera from a smartphone to a professional DSLR with a macro lens. It isn’t always about the camera!


Super Bloom and Super Butterflies in Southern California

By Peter Hall, scientific and administrative advisor to eButterfly, Ottawa, Ontario

Bramble Hairstreak – Kitchen Creek, San Diego County, 1 April 2019

Following a wet and cool winter in Southern California, this spring created a ‘super bloom’ of flowering plants and a visit there also produced a super butterfly crop of observations. For three weeks, from March 14 to April 3, my wife Judy and I travelled around San Diego and Riverside Counties staying in the Colorado Desert, the Laguna Mountains and on the La Jolla coastline. 

The number and diversity of flowering plants was astounding with valleys and canyons completely carpeted in flowers of more than a hundred varieties, including chuparosa, wild heliotrope, desert dandelion and a variety of poppies, sunflowers and lupines – and that’s not even to mention the large variety of cacti just starting to flower.


Painted Lady Butterflies are on the Move!

Painted Lady butterflies by the thousands are pushing northward in southern California. Like Monarch butterflies, with which they are sometimes confused, Painted Ladies are now heading northward to breed. But they’re not as predictable as Monarchs. Where exactly are they going? With a massive effort by volunteer citizen scientists, we can begin to piece together this migratory puzzle with butterfly checklisting. (more…)

Butterfly Records for South Carolina: 1 June – 30 November 2018

By Dennis M Forsythe, Emeritus Professor of Biology, The Citadel, Charleston, SC

Other than a successful Carolina Butterfly Society sponsored weekend 2-3 June to the Francis Marion National Forest, butterfly numbers and diversity were very low across all of South Carolina during June-August.  A Midlands Chapter CBS field trip scheduled for 25 June to the Enoree District, Sumter NF,  was canceled because of the lack of butterflies. Things did not improve until late August. As Harry LeGrande commented elsewhere the 2nd brood of butterflies seemed to be 2-3 weeks early this fall. So my 4 September visit to the Carolina Sand Hills NWR failed to locate any of the expected Dotted Skipper but instead found a Meske’s Skipper, a species which is more usual in late September-early October.


Expedition James Bay 2018

By Rodrigo Solis

On June 19, 2015, five intrepid lepidopterists – Jacques Larrivée, Chris Schmidt, Rick Cavasin, Peter Hall and Max Larrivée – set out to explore the east side of James Bay in Quebec and identify the bogs to be monitored along a 10 degree latitudinal transect. Fast-forward to 2018 and this time, as a pre-trip to the LepSoc meeting in Ottawa, a new team of entomologists with a varied range of expertise, skill, and interests was put together to follow on the steps of that first 2015 expedition. Maxim Larivée, Rick Cavasin, Pierre de Tonnancour, Steven Daniel, Mark Walker, Toomas Tammaru, Patricia Barcellos, and Rodrigo Solis-Sosa met in Ottawa on July 3rd, 2018 and set out for an unforgettable experience. (more…)

New Study Reveals e-Butterfly Provides Unique and Important Data

Opportunistic data collection programs like e-Butterfly allow volunteers to report species observations from anywhere, and can quickly assemble large volumes of both historic and current data. But how valuable is the data? A new peer-reviewed study by researchers at the University of Ottawa used eButterfly data and a comparable dataset of professionally collected observations across Canada to measure the amount of new distributional and regional species richness information that opportunistic citizen science generates. We’re pleased to learn, because of great volunteers like you, e-Butterfly provides incredible data for science and conservation!


Take Part in the 2018 International Monarch Monitoring Blitz!

From July 28 to August 5, butterfly watchers across North America are invited to take part in the International Monarch Monitoring Blitz to help provide a valuable snapshot of Monarch population status across their late summer range. Participation is simple: find a milkweed patch and look for Monarchs, counting the number of stems you examined as well as the number of eggs, caterpillars, pupae, and adults. Then, share your observations with Mission Monarch.


Getting the Blues: A View from Vermont

Although they measure barely an inch across, the azures (in the genus Celastrina) cause a mile of consternation among lepidopterists. Even as these butterflies present sparks of blue, their taxonomy remains cloudy and controversial. I won’t resolve it for you here. Instead, I’ll tell you some of what we know or suspect about these blues, including revelations from recent research in Canada. Along the way, you’ll discover how butterflies can expand our knowledge of nature, and maybe even allow you to witness evolution happening in your own backyard. (more…)

Making 2018 a Big eButterfly Year

Each year eButterfly keeps growing thanks to the dedication of many butterfly watchers and professional lepidopterists. In 2017 alone, 475 species were reported to eButterfly represented by nearly 12,000 checklists comprising almost 50,000 butterfly records and over 21,000 photographs. We now have recorded 741 butterfly species at over 35,000 locations across North America by nearly 6,000 people! We hear from many users who tell us how eButterfly has helped them learn more about butterflies and has made their butterflying more fun and have more purpose. We also hear from many great butterfly watchers who say that they want to submit to eButterfly more often or that they “keep meaning to get started” but have yet to “take the plunge.” Together, let’s make 2018 a big eButterfly year!  (more…)

Volunteer Data Reviewers Make eButterfly Shine

Clouded SulphurAnyone who regularly submits to eButtery has come to understand our data quality process. It is of paramount importance at eButterfly. Typos happen, misidentifications happen, and well-intentioned eButterfly observers sometimes just make mistakes. All of us at Team eButterfly have done it, and we’ll do it again. Mistakes are part of surveying butterflies. Our team of volunteer reviewers works tirelessly to make eButterfy data as accurate and authoritative as possible. (more…)

Leveraging Citizen Science for Butterflies

From a graduate school student’s lofty dream to a full-fledged citizen science program, eButterfly celebrates its 6th year with a new publication in a special issue of the journal Insects on butterfly conservation. The article – eButterfly: Leveraging Massive Online Citizen Science for Butterfly Conservation – highlights our accomplishments and outlines the bright future of eButterfly. 

The power of eButterfly and other massive online citizen science programs lies in the strength and diversity of its participants. Anyone with an interest in butterflies can participate—from the new enthusiast, to the backyard gardener, to the seasoned expert. Since 2012, over 39,000 checklists, representing 230,000 observations and comprising 682 butterfly species, have been submitted to eButterfly by over 5,500 participants. As more participants submit data, an environment of sharing and free data exchange will become the norm between butterfly enthusiasts, scientists, and conservationists. (more…)

A Rare Butterfly Returns to Southern California

The endangered Quino Checkerspots (Euphydryas editha quino) are flying on the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge this spring for the first time in years. It selectively lays its eggs only on the Dwarf Plantain plant. Once found throughout California and into Mexico, the tiny Quino Checkerspot butterfly population is now extremely fragmented, which made it challenging for San Diego Zoo and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists to find and collect eggs, larvae and butterflies for the recovery program. Due to the unique biology of this butterfly species, there have been many years when almost no Quino sightings were recorded. As climate change, drought and development have altered their habitat, the Quino’s future was bleak. (more…)

November Butterflying in the Lower Rio Grande Valley

Blue Metalmark - Resaca de las   Palmas, Brownsville, Texas, Nov.6, 2015In the northern part of North America, most butterfliers in the fall hang up their binoculars and cameras and head into semi-hibernation. However, more than a few simply head south in November to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas. I have joined them from Ontario in the past two years and have been astounded by the results.

While butterflies in most parts of the continent disappearor drastically dwindle by autumn, the number of species and individuals in southern Texas increases exponentially. Even on overcast days, you can see hundreds and even thousands of butterflies. Over about a month in the combined last two Novembers, I found 118 different species.


Canada’s Iconic Migrants at Grave Risk


monarchFrom Coho Salmon to Caribou to the much cherished Monarch butterfly, migration is a key component of Canadian biodiversity. Migratory species, migration and movement all figured prominently at the semi-annual Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) deliberations on species at risk, held November 27 – December 2nd. Monarch butterfly migration is now recognized as a “threatened process” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Indeed, it is the only natural process with this unfortunate distinction. COSEWIC assessed the species as Endangered. (more…)

Team eButterfly Visits Florida

eButterfly Team at the 2016 International Congress of Entomology itching to get out in the field.
eButterfly Team at the 2016 International Congress of Entomology itching to get out in the field.

Several members of the eButterfly team attended the 2016 XXV International Congress of Entomology from September 25 to 30 in Orlando, Florida. eButterfly sponsored a symposium titled, “Keeping Science in Citizen Science” during the meeting. The symposium was extremely well received and inspiring to all of us as many of the speakers demonstrated the value of citizen science data in insect research and conservation. And of course, since we were in Florida…we had to go butterflying!  (more…)

eButterfly and Nunavik’s Youth Team Up to Survey Arctic Butterflies

2016-08-04 DSC_7495For the second consecutive year, eButterfly’s Max Larrivée teamed up with nine teenage Nunavik Inuits as part of a collaboration between the Montréal Insectarium and Nunavik Parks to survey butterfly diversity in the remote Québec arctic. The group led by Élise Rioux-Paquette, conservation officer for Nunavik Parks, and Elijah Ningiuruvik, Pingaluit National Park director, sampled butterflies inside the park during the first week of August. They focused their attention around Lac Manarsulik near the world renown Pingualuit Crater and along the valleys and canyons surrounding the Pivurnituk River, a unique ecosystem that flows from Ungava bay across to Hudson Bay. Conditions can be extremely harsh in the arctic beyond tree line from the high winds to biting flies, not to mention the extremely variable weather conditions. (more…)

New Mission Monarch Project Powered by eButterfly


Science, butterfly and nature buffs, and other members of the public across the country are being asked by the experts to get out and look for milkweed plants to count monarch eggs and caterpillars, then to share their findings with Mission Monarch, powered by eButterfly.

“Mission Monarch is an especially concrete example of something that can bring humankind closer to nature,” declares Charles-Mathieu Brunelle, Director of Montréal Space for Life. “We’ve made that our mission and we are pleased that this major project is giving people a chance to connect or reconnect with their natural environment, while helping to conserve this widely beloved species.”


Vermont Butterfly Big Year Takes Flight

ButterflyingWith the help of an army of citizen scientists, the Vermont Butterfly Big Year aims to record every species of butterfly in Vermont this year. It’s a blend of science, education, competition, enjoyment, and a quest to monitor the changing nature of the state. Climate change, invasive species, habitat loss, and other environmental concerns are altering the biological diversity of Vermont. And with your help, VCE is trying to understand what this means for butterflies.


Make eButterfly Your New Year’s Resolution in 2016

Rick Cavasin photographing butterflies for eButterfly.Since its inception just a few years ago, eButterfly has grown in leaps and bounds thanks to the dedication of many butterfly watchers and professional lepidopterists. We hear from many users who tell us how eButterfly has helped them learn more about butterflies and has made their butterflying more fun and have more purpose. We also hear from many great butterfly watchers who say that they want to submit to eButterfly more often or that they “keep meaning to get started” but have yet to “take the plunge.” Together, let’s make 2016 the year without regret! Make your New Year’s resolution to use eButterfly! With all the improvements we’ve made, eButterfly is easier to use than ever. Give it a try today, for yourself, for watchers everywhere, and for the butterflies we all care about. (more…)

The Secret Weapons of Cabbages: Overcome by Butterfly Co-evolution

7699638224_c7bacaf023_zFor some of us in the north, a Cabbage White fluttering in the garden on a warm November day may be the last butterfly we see for the year. Recently, an international team of researchers has used the power of genomics to reveal the mechanisms of an ancient and ongoing arms-race between butterflies and plants, played out in countless gardens around the world as green caterpillars devour cabbage plants. This study appears 50 years after a classic paper by Paul Ehrlich and Peter Raven that formally introduced the concept of co-evolution using butterflies and plants as primary examples. The present study not only provides striking support for co-evolution, but also provides fundamentally new insights into its genetic basis in both groups of organisms.  (more…)

eButterfly Visits the White House

katypThis week eButterfly co-director Katy Prudic is at the White House in Washington, D.C. where she was invited to a small White House conference called Open Science and Innovation: Of the People, By the People, For the People. The meeting will focus on the new federal citizen science toolkit and other crowdsourcing sites like eButterfly. Read more from the Arizona Daily Star…



‘No one looking’, so citizen scientist fills the gap

2012-07-19 Blvd de Lery old rail road_DSC1266An avid citizen scientist, Mark Olivier, after having recorded and documented over 1,000 bird sightings has found another niche — butterflies. The era of citizen science has flourished with the advent of the Internet, partly because it provides a platform for bird watchers and outdoor enthusiast to share their sightings, said Olivier. Sault Naturalists have engaged in Internet reporting for years. Finding himself one of many in the field of birders, the passionate photographer sought a new interest and from this came his evolution to butterfly watching. (more…)

Epic James Bay Expedition

2015-06-20 Road to Waskaganish DSC_8149On June 19, 2015, five intrepid lepidopterists – Jacques Larivée, Chris Schmidt, Rick Cavasin, Peter Hall and Max Larrivée – set out to explore the east side of James Bay in Quebec. headed north from Ottawa, we travelled up the James Bay Highway, the northernmost paved road in eastern North America culminating at nearly 54 degrees of latitude. The aim of the trip was to take advantage of this south to north road to establish a long term latitudinal transect to search and monitor butterfly and moth distributional changes over ten days in the varied habitats – mixed forest, boreal forest, bog and coastal tundra – as we traveled north. Climate in this region has warmed by nearly 2.5C over the last 25 years and many butterfly and moth species were documented much further north than previously known during our expedition. (more…)

The Waltz of the Hickory Hairstreaks

Hickory Hairstreak (Satyrium caryaevorum)I have the great fortune of living in a mature hardwood forests on a two acre lot in Rigaud, Québec, Canada. This has allowed me to witness butterfly and moth behaviour and phenological events in ways I had never experienced in the past. This morning, similarly to last July, the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes in bed were a dozen hairstreaks waltzing in a sunny corner of the back yard. I quickly went out with the intent to photograph all the different individuals I could see to capture the variation between them. I soon realized this would be impossible. With 3-4 individuals on every bush and tree branch in sight that was in the sun and many seemingly hiding in the shaded bushes, I lost count within minutes. I was also flushing many from the grass and dirt all around the house as well. There were just too many to keep an exact count!


Admirals at Sea

Red Admiral sunning on a gravel road in Vermont. / © K.P. McFarlandDrifting in a boat several miles out in the Gulf of Maine, Chris Rimmer, director of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, didn’t expect to see any butterflies. It was a warm July afternoon (well, for the coast of Maine) and Chris didn’t expect to see many birds either. But to his surprise, through his binoculars, he clearly spotted a Red Admiral cruising southward on the light breeze. There was not just one aberrant butterfly; he was able to spot five. Where had they come from and where were they going? Unlike the migratory Monarch populations in North America, there is no single overwintering location known for the Red Admiral. During migrations, they can be found in almost any habitat from tundra to the subtropics. (more…)

eButterfly’s Eclosure

Max_Photo_1The seed for eButterfly was planted over 60 years ago when Jacques Larivée started Études des Populations d’Oiseaux du Québec bird checklist program. Now with over 6 million records, it’s the longest-running bird checklist program in North America. The daily checklists have provided incredibly reliable information on changes in bird populations, phenology, and geographic and climate abundance patterns at local, regional, and continental scales. His young son Max Larrivée grew up checklisting in eastern Québec. It wasn’t birds that caught his eye, but rather butterflies. “Because of my dad, I swam in butterfly and bird checklists since I was five years old,” said Larrivée. “I first thought of building a checklist-based butterfly website in 2000 when I entered graduate school.”


December eButterflyer of the month: YOU!

eButterfliers reported almost 30,000 butterfly observations   in 2014 from across the United States and Canada.To celebrate the completion of our 3rd eButterfly year, we wanted to take the time to thank all of our eButterflyers. Your contributions made 2014 our best so far. eButterfly is growing by leaps and bounds. Here are a few amazing statistics that are a testament to the power of citizen scientists when we come together and join forces to improve our knowledge of our amazing butterfly fauna. Together we have shared more than 30,000 checklists from over 13,000 differents locations across Canada and the United States. (more…)

A Target on Your Back Is Useful

WS-smallLife is hard, especially if you’re a butterfly. Always feels like there is a target on your back. Turns out some of those targets (AKA wing eyespots) are useful to deflect attacks away from the butterfly’s vulnerable head and body. Having eyespots allows butterflies to live longer and lay more eggs. Surprisingly this deflection hypothesis has been difficult to support in behavioral experiments with birds and lizards. In fact, butterflies with eyespots tend to be eaten faster!


November’s eButterflyer of the Month : Daniel Jones

danThis November’s eButterflyer of the month is Daniel Jones from Texas. Dan joined eButterfly last spring and has been an extremely productive eButterfly user and our top Texas contributor ever since! He is currently ranked second for the number of species recorded in 2014 in our top 100 with 132 species from 47 checklists contributed and 266 photos, several of which are the first example of a species in eButterfly’s photo collection. (more…)

Looking for a Few Good Cabbage Whites

7699638224_c7bacaf023_zHey butterfly lovers, graduate students Sean Ryan at the University of Notre Dame and Anne Espeset at the University of Nevada, Reno are asking for help from fellow butterflyers. These students are investigating how different environments have changed the genomes of the ubiquitous, introduced cabbage white (Pieris rapae). The findings of this project will also provide insight into how other butterflies may respond to climate change. (more…)

Sharing Your Historical Data with eButterfly

By Peter Hall, Ottawa, OntarioShort-Tail Swallowtail Photo Peter Hall

My butterfly watching began in childhood when I chased a Cabbage White around a schoolyard in Ajax, Ontario, and caught it in my cap. Almost sixty years later I’m still at it. In the early days, I did some collecting, but did not keep any field notes as there was nobody to share my observations with. While a teenager, I met a fellow enthusiast and we discovered the first Peterson butterfly field guide. We became a network of two. Now butterfly enthusiasts have multiple field guides, many local networks and eButterfly. (more…)

August eButterflyer of Month: Colin Walton

IMG_6049This August’s eButterflyer of the month is one of our youngest contributors, 11 year old Colin Walton from Toronto, Ontario. Colin has been exposed to insects throughout his life by his mother, Antonia Guidotti, an entomologist at the Royal Ontario Museum and co-author of the new ROM Field Guide to the Butterflies of Ontario. As we say, the apple never really falls far from the tree! Colin began posting his sightings to eButterfly in mid-July and has continued on a daily basis. He has already contributed 130 observations for a total of 23 species to the eButterfly database. In 2013, he won third place in the Entomological Society of Ontario Photo contest (kids’ category) for a photo of an Anicia Checkerspot that he took in Alberta that year. (more…)

New Butterfly Field Guide for Ontario

Butterflies of OntarioeButterfly is very proud to be a part of the very first field guide on the butterflies of Ontario. It highlights the diversity of life by featuring 167 species of butterflies known to occur in Ontario. The ROM Field Guide to Butterflies of Ontario includes descriptive species accounts, flight season phenograms, and striking field photography of adults and caterpillars.

The field guide is also a testament to the power and value of citizen science projects such as eButterfly and regional atlassing efforts as it also presents range maps based on hundreds of thousands of historical records including over 20 thousand records from the eButterfly database, and what we believe to be a first for a butterfly field guide: computer-modelled predictive species distributions. The predictive distribution models were developed by eButterfly’s Maxim Larrivée. eButterfly users can soon expect North-American range maps based on species distribution models using eButterfly data to be added to each species profile pages. (more…)

eButterfly Spotlight – Arctic (Purple) Fritillary

From Gary in Edmonton, Alberta.

Today’s butterfly was a surprise for me in more ways than one.  I ventured  out to the little bog just south of Sherwood Park in hopes of finding  a Giant Sulphur.  No sulphurs, but on the edge of the bog a population of fresh Boloria freija aka Freija fritillarys!  The second surprise was when I got home and took a closer look and found they are in fact not Freija fritillaries, but Purple fritillaries, Boloria chariclea. Who knew!

Boloria chariclea ventral view

Boloria chariclea 1 dorsal


A number of the chariclea were nectaring at purple Fall asters just outside the bog, along with hordes of European Skippers and oodles of Northern Pearl Crescents. I slogged through the bog…which is boggier than usual this wet summer…in hopes of finding a Giant sulphur but  saw almost nothing therein..except for a another chariclea. I have slogged this bog on numerous occasions in the past…the footing on the hummocks is always atrocious and today, for the first time, I managed to miss-step and do a 180 into the soggy soggy boggy.  Shocking, and yet refreshing….

A fine day all around and rewarded once again for going bugging and bogging…



July eButterflyer of Month: Gary Anweiler

Gary-AnweilerThis July’s eButterflyer of the month is Alberta’s own Gary Anweiler. Gary has been associated with the Strickland Entomological Museum for 25 years now and wrote many of the lepidoptera species pages for the Virtual Museum site and is co-author of the annotated list of the Lepidoptera of Alberta, Canada published in 2010 and updated in 2014. He has has been one of our top contributors from Alberta since our humble beginnings in 2012 and has already contributed 46 checklists in 2014. (more…)

Welcome to eButterfly 3.0!

ButterflyingWe are pleased to announce the release of eButterfly 3.0, an updated version of the powerful Internet-based program currently used by thousands of butterfly enthusiasts. eButterfly is a free, user-friendly way for butterfly watchers across North America to record, archive and share their observations anytime, anywhere. It is also an important tool for conservation, providing researchers with a comprehensive picture of the abundance and distribution of butterflies. The data come to life via eButterfly’s colorful, new interactive maps, tables and charts. (more…)

Visit Our New YouTube Channel


Got questions about eButterfly? What to see someone else use eButterfly? Go to eButterfly’s YouTube Channel and view either You see it? Why not E it? or You Don’t Have to Know the Species. John Acorn of Nature Nut fame and his illustrious co-stars do an incredible job illustrating how to use and enjoy eButterfly. Big thank you to Mr. Acorn and the rest of the Alberta butterfly community. You make eButterfly a better place to bug!

June eButterflyer of the Month: Roy Pilcher

Roy PilcherWith a bias toward the physical sciences, Roy Pilcher’s primary, secondary and university studies did not contain a single life science course. By way of compensation Roy’s youth was happily expended on a Rhodesian farm while his boarding school environs in both Rhodesia and South Africa were gloriously isolated and remotely located.

Collecting birds’ eggs (now deposited in the Birds of Vermont Museum) in his youth while at boarding school in Rhodesia and South Africa was his introduction into the natural world of birds, to the rigor of documentation and to the skill of interpreting bird behavior all the while vulnerable to the personal and physical harm of accessing nests and their eggs! Egg collecting evolved into bird watching, photographing and documentation propelled mainly for personal gratification. (more…)

La genèse d’ iPapillon

Les graines qui ont donné naissance à iPapillon ont été semées il y a plus de 60 ans, au moment où Jacques Larrivée a entrepris l’Étude des populations d’oiseaux du Québec (ÉPOQ). Ce programme de collecte de données sur les oiseaux représente aujourd’hui, avec plus de six millions d’observations, le plus long programme du genre jamais mené en Amérique du Nord. Ses feuillets d’observations quotidiennes ont permis de collecter des données extrêmement fiables sur l’évolution et la phénologie des populations d’oiseaux, et de créer des modèles géographiques et climatiques de leur abondance aux niveaux local et régional, de même qu’à l’échelle du continent.

Le jeune Maxim Larrivée a ainsi grandi dans l’est du Québec en remplissant des feuillets d’observations avec son père. Plutôt que les oiseaux, ce sont les papillons qui ont capté son attention. « J’avais à peine cinq ans que je nageais déjà dans les feuillets d’observations d’oiseaux et de papillons, dit-il. J’ai commencé à penser à créer un site Web de collecte de données sur les papillons au moyen de listes d’observations en 2000, quand j’ai commencé l’université. »

Mais ce n’est pas avant de devenir chercheur postdoctoral à l’Unité canadienne de recherche écoinformatique, dirigée par Jeremy Kerr à l’Université d’Ottawa, qu’il a pu mettre son projet à exécution. Il s’agissait au départ de regrouper dans une seule et même base de données toutes les observations de papillons répertoriées au Canada et de poursuivre l’inventaire dans l’ensemble du pays. Et le seul moyen d’y arriver sur la base d’un maigre budget de recherche consistait à rassembler le plus grand nombre possible de lépidoptéristes professionnels et d’observateurs de papillons amateurs.

« En 2010, j’ai mis deux équipes de chercheurs universitaires en informatique en concurrence en leur demandant de créer une version bêta du site iPapillon, dit Maxim Larrivée. C’est comme ça que j’ai rencontré Sambo Zhang, qui s’est révélé être un vrai génie de la programmation dans ce domaine, et nous travaillons ensemble depuis ce temps-là. » Après avoir passé deux ans à perfectionner le système, ils ont lancé une modeste version canadienne du site iPapillon en 2012. Le site a eu beaucoup de succès au Canada, mais ils savaient qu’ils pouvaient encore l’améliorer et l’étendre à l’ensemble de l’Amérique du Nord.

Une chercheure scientifique de l’Université d’État de l’Oregon, Katy Prudic, était elle aussi de cet avis. Selon elle, les papillons, qui représentent un élément important de nombreux écosystèmes, sont extrêmement sensibles aux changements de température, à l’augmentation de la population, à l’étalement urbain, à l’évolution de l’utilisation des sols et des eaux, et à un grand nombre d’autres facteurs. En ayant recours à des ordinateurs puissants, les experts sont en mesure d’interpréter ces changements et de mieux comprendre leurs incidences sur la biodiversité, mais ils ne sont pas assez nombreux pour collecter eux-mêmes toutes les données. Elle a rapidement rejoint les rangs de l’équipe iPapillon, qu’elle a aidée à prendre de l’expansion en Amérique du Nord.

Porté par sa popularité toujours croissante, iPapillon était prêt à poursuivre son évolution. Kent McFarland, lui-même observateur de papillons depuis de nombreuses années et directeur de l’inventaire des papillons du Vermont au Centre d’études écologiques du Vermont, avait géré le portail eBird de l’État du Vermont durant plus d’une décennie. « J’ai commencé à utiliser le site iPapillon dès que je l’ai découvert, dit-il, et j’ai compris qu’il avait le potentiel nécessaire pour devenir un jour aussi important et puissant qu’eBird. »

Il s’est joint aux autres membres de l’équipe, laquelle n’a pas tardé à se rendre au laboratoire d’ornithologie de l’Université Cornell, où elle a bénéficié pendant quelques jours des conseils techniques des créateurs d’eBird. « Les membres de l’équipe eBird ont été vraiment fantastiques, dit Maxim Larrivée. Ils nous ont fortement encouragés à continuer et nous ont donné des conseils incroyablement utiles à tous les niveaux. Grâce à leur aide, nous avons pu progresser très rapidement. »

Ainsi instruite des secrets de la réussite d’eBird, l’équipe a travaillé sans relâche au cours de l’automne et de l’hiver pour que la nouvelle version améliorée d’iPapillon soit prête à temps pour le printemps. « La plus grosse part du travail est revenue à Sambo, dit Maxim Larrivée. Il prend une idée qui nous vient ou un outil d’eBird que nous aimons, et quelques jours plus tard il nous en propose une version bêta pour iPapillon. Il est vraiment incroyable. »

Encore plus agréable à regarder et plus facile à utiliser, iPapillon permet à tous, jeunes ou vieux, débutants ou experts, de partager facilement avec d’autres leurs observations de papillons, qu’ils se trouvent dans leur jardin ou au sommet d’une montagne éloignée. « Ce qu’il nous faut, affirme Katy Prudic, et ce qu’à notre avis offre maintenant le nouveau site iPapillon, c’est un outil qui permette à des milliers de gens de contribuer à la collecte de données sur les papillons dans toute l’Amérique du Nord pendant encore des décennies. Ce sera une magnifique occasion pour les gens de participer à la recherche scientifique, de suivre l’évolution de notre monde en constante transformation, de se rapprocher de la nature et de profiter de la biodiversité. »

Bienvenue à iPapillon 3.0!

ButterflyingNous sommes heureux d’annoncer le lancement de iPapillon 3.0, la version mise à jour du puissant site Internet actuellement utilisé par des milliers de mordus des papillons. iPapillon est un site gratuit et convivial qui permet aux observateurs de papillons de toute l’Amérique du Nord d’entrer, d’archiver et de partager leurs observations n’importe où, n’importe quand. C’est aussi un outil important de conservation, car il fournit aux chercheurs un tableau complet de la distribution et de l’abondance des papillons. Toutes ces données prennent vie grâce aux cartes interactives et aux nombreux tableaux et graphiques en couleur du nouveau site iPapillon. (more…)

iPapillon 3.0 nécessite l’utilisation d’un navigateur Internet récent

Vous devez utiliser la version la plus récente de votre navigateur pour optimiser l’affichage et le fonctionnement de la version 3.0 du site iPapillon. Si vous utilisez Internet Explorer, il doit s’agir de la version 10 ou d’une version ultérieure. Cliquez ici pour vous renseigner sur les dernières versions des différents navigateurs et savoir quelle version de votre navigateur vous utilisez. Merci.

May eButterflier of the Month

Elizabeth Long holding a Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor).Elizabeth Long brought her passion for birds to butterflies during her graduate studies at UC Davis with Prof. Art Shapiro. Dr. Long is now a researcher at UCLA working in conservation biology at the La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science. She has been a member of eButterfly’s Scientific Advisory Panel and has contributed 55 checklists and recorded 125 species. She leads observations and checklists in both Arizona and California.  She also helps verify reported observations from California and the southwest USA.  Please join us in thanking Elizabeth for all she brings to eButterfly and the broader butterfly community. (more…)

Updated Web Browser Needed for eButterfly 3.0

Please note that eButterfly 3.0 requires web browsers that are up-to-date for optimal viewing and use. Please make sure your browser is the latest version available. If you are using Internet Explorer it must be version 10 or later. Here’s a helpful article listing the latest versions and how you can check. Thank you.


March eButterflyer of the Month: Rick Cavasin

Rick Cavasin in action.Rick Cavasin, naturalist, photographer and eButterflyer extraordinaire, is our March eButterflyer of the Month. Rick has been involved with eButterfly since its inception. He is one of eButterfly’s top contributors with 552 checklists and 1,353 photographs submitted! He’s tallied 142 species on his eButterfly life list so far. Rick has been a fantastic beta tester, always provided extremely valuable and insightful feedback and proposed new features to the eButterfly team to help improve the user experience. Additionally, Rick helps to curate the eButterfly database by verifying records in his region and beyond. He is also involved with the Ontario Butterfly Atlas as a data compiler and he is the creator of two excellent and comprehensive resource websites for butterflies in Ontario: www.ottawa.ontariobutterflies.ca and www.ontariobutterflies.ca. We asked Rick why he was attracted to butterflies and eButterfly. (more…)

alberta blog first post

this is the first post of laberta