ALG & Papillons du Quebec

Charles Bird cbird at
Mon Apr 24 10:59:43 EDT 2000

Don Lafontaine suggested that I post the following article which recently
appeared in the Alberta Naturalist 30(1):21.

Alberta Lepidopterists Guild and Book Review: Papillons du Québec

Dr. Charles Bird

        At the 14 January 2000 gathering of the recently inaugurated (16
1999) Alberta Lepidopterist's Guild (ALG) at Chairman Gary Anweiler's home,
Louis Morneau (a graduate student from Quebec who is studying moths at the
University of Alberta) showed me a recently published book: Louis Handfield's
1999 "Papillons du Québec". It is published by Antoine Broquet, 151-A,
boul. de
Mortagne, QC, J4B 6G4. Details of the book can be found at The book comes in two versions; one popular ($57.19
for the book, shipping and GST) and the other scientific (about $100). I
ordered a copy of the popular version.

        The book covers the Macrolepidoptera (butterflies and larger moths) of
Quebec and has color photographs of all included species. It is written in
French, but scientific French is, in my opinion, not difficult to read. The
book is 536 pages long and there are 123 colour Plates. After an
informative 90
page introduction and description of the study of Quebec Lepidoptera, the book
launches into species accounts.  The order of species presentation is based on
numbers used in Ronald Hodges et al. (1983). The illustrations also bear the
same number, so it is easy to navigate from the text to the illustration.
Topics included for each species are regional distribution, flight period,
habitat, pertinent notes, host plants and similar species. Handfield has
made a
serious attempt to look at material in all of the major, and most minor,
collections that have specimens of Quebec moths, and has been in close contact
with J. Donald Lafontaine of the Canadian National Collection in Ottawa.
Lafontaine is one of the authors of "The Butterflies of Canada" (1998).

        Charles V. Covell, Jr.'s, 1984 "A Field Guide to Moths of Eastern
America" is an excellent book as far as it goes. It covers over 1300
species of
the larger moths, but, of course, does not cover and illustrate all of the
species of that region. Holland's 1903 (revised 1968) "The Moth Book" is the
only available book that covers all of North America, but it is out-of-date,
incomplete and hard to come by.  Handfield's book, on the other hand, covers
and illustrates all of the 1450 macrolepidoptera (butterflies, skippers and
larger moths) of the province of Quebec. As there is no publication covering
and illustrating the moths of Alberta, or even of western North America for
that matter, we are frequently at a loss to know where to go when trying to
find out more about one of our Alberta species. As many Alberta species are
included in Handfield's book, it is quite helpful, and, in fact, has better
coverage of Alberta species than does any other publication. 

        Kenneth Bowman's (1951) "An Annotated List of the Lepidoptera of
Alberta", and subsequent addenda, is the only complete listing of the moths of
Alberta. This compilation, which is based on numbers in McDunnough (1938 and
1939), lists distribution by region as well as flight period by month, but has
no illustrations. 

It is one of the goals of the ALG to prepare an up-to-date listing of Alberta
moths. Alberta's butterflies have been covered by Acorn's "Butterflies of
Alberta" (1993) and by Bird et al’s. "Alberta Butterflies" (1995). It is high
time that something similar is done for Alberta moths. Anyone interested in
participating in the exciting resurgence of interest in our provincial
Lepidoptera is encouraged to become a member of the ALG. To do so, contact the
Secretary, Greg R. Pohl, Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre,
5320 - 122 St., Edmonton, Alberta T6H 3S5, <GPohl at>. 

Literature Cited
Acorn, J.H. 1993. The Butterflies of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing, Edmonton,
Bird, C.D., G.J. Hilchie, N.G. Kondla, E.M. Pike and F.A.H. Sperling. 1995.
Alberta Butterflies. The Provincial Museum of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta.
Bowman, K. 1951. An Annotated List of the Lepidoptera of Alberta. Canadian
Journal of Zoology, 29: 121-165.
Covell, Charles V., Jr. 1984. A Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America.
Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, New York.
Handfield, Louis. 1999. Le Guide des Papillons du Québec. A. Broquet,
Boucherville, Quebec.
Hodges, R.W., T. Dominick, D.R. Davis, D.C. Ferguson, J.G. Franclemont, E.G.
Munroe and J.A. Powell. 1983. Check List of the Lepidoptera of America
North of
Mexico. E.W. Classey Ltd. and The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation,
London, England.
Holland, W.J. 1903. The Moth Book. Doubleday, Page & Co., New York. Revised
1968, Dover Publ., New York.
Layberry, A.R., P.W. Hall and J.D. Lafontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of
University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario.
McDunnough, J.H. 1938. Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Canada and the United
States of America. Part I. Macrolepidoptera. Memoir I of the Southern
California Academy of Sciences.
McDunnough, J.H. 1939. Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Canada and the United
States of America. Part II. Microlepidoptera. Memoir II of the Southern
California Academy of Sciences.

Author's Address:
Box 22, Erskine, Alberta, T0C 1G0; <cbird at>

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