On ontario

Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at tils-ttr.org
Sun Nov 5 09:20:57 EST 2000

    Fixsenia favonius favonius is very common here in coastal S.C. but
seldom seen most years because three things do not coincide: adult flight,
preferred nectar source, and butterfly observers/collectors. For example, in
those years with a late or cool spring the adult emergence occurs at the
same time as certain flowering shrubs (the butterflies are out at the same
time but the plants bloom later). In these years it's found in the
thousands. The key word here is found. The other years it is just as
abundant, but lep-ers seldom find it due to its different flight habits. I
suspect the same is true further north -- it is there but seldom seen some
      Parrhasius m-album follows this same pattern locally. The second brood
of m-album occurs with the only brood of favonius. (The first brood of
m-album is late February/March.)In years that one is seen abundantly in May
so is the other, and vice versa. It is therefore not only not a surprise to
me that m-album was found at the same place and week as favonius ontario in
Canada -- it is what I would expect. This is evidence that the same
*vanishing act* occurs in the north. Both species have the same host and
same flight period.
     While it is true that m-album is known to be a wanderer, ontraio is
not. Ontario females in particular stay in close proximity to their habitat
area. Birders are so accustomed to individuals of many bird species moving
long distances that they have transferred this pattern to butterflies. The
vast majority of all butterflies only exist in localized habitats. They must
also exist in mass -- not as pairs or small flocks as birds. Thus, if two
ontario are found in the same basic area at the same time the breeding
population is probably not more then two miles away. This species does not
disappear and suddenly reappear. It was there all along but in a different
niche than the lepidopterist -- as with E. laeta.
    In Butterflies of Canada it is stated that there is _no_ evidence of
ontario or m-album breeding in Ontario. I disagree to this extent. There is
no conclusive evidence that it does not breed there. However, the fact that
specimens of both (often sympatric) species are occasionally found in
southern Ontario is *evidence* that it (they) may be resident in an as yet
undiscovered colony.
    E.atala was assumed to be extinct in S. Florida. It never was. Some were
so sure they named a whole publication after it.


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