LATEST NEWS


Recorded Webinar: Using Community Science Data to Monitor Butterflies

Butterfly walks are not only a relaxing activity, but also an invaluable source of data for science. Join Dr. Federico Riva as he discusses the importance of the checklists recorded in eButterfly for his work: (i) the use of butterfly checklists to understand population changes and inform conservation practices; (ii) the importance of “imperfect detection” – our inability to see all butterflies when we are looking for them – and how we can maximize the number of butterflies that we see at a site; (iii) his current work with eButterfly, that leverages thousands of observations from community scientists to help understand regions of conservation priority across North America.


Postdoctoral Fellow Joins the eButterfly Team

We are excited to have Dr. Federico Riva join us for a short fellowship. Over the next few months he will be working to map the distribution of North American butterflies, assessing trends in their populations, and helping to inform effective monitoring practices. We asked him to share a bit about his background and his work with butterflies. Welcome to the eButterfly team Dr. Riva!


eButterfly Taxonomy Updated

Months in the making, we’ve just made substantial improvements and corrections to the taxonomic backbone for eButterfly. This will drastically improve the user experience when entering checklists and exploring data. Learn about all the details…


eButterflying Your 4th of July Count

The 4th of July Butterfly Count season is here! Each year, hundreds of butterfly enthusiasts participate in a cooperative effort to count butterflies within established 15-mile diameter survey circles. Most counts depend on the efforts of multiple parties, with each individual or team checking different parts of the survey circle, then combining their counts into a final count total. These tallies are then used to compare between years. The counts are an important and long-running survey that help understand changes in butterfly populations at large scales. Your checklists can also be important for eButterfly too!


New Feature Alert: Project Pages

Our new eButterfly Projects tool allows you to easily and quickly create a hub for your event, club, class, or organization. An eButterfly Project creates a space for you that pools observations of eButterfly users together. You can automatically include all of the checklists and observations that fit the places, taxa, users, or dates that you specify. Whether you’re starting a community science effort, creating a home for your user group, or running a butterfly bioblitz; eButterfly Projects is the new tool for you.


Watch Our Recorded Webinar and Learn How to eButterfly!

Every time butterfly watchers raise binoculars and cameras to record a butterfly sighting, they collect important data. Recording the number, date, and location of each and every butterfly, no matter how common or rare, may seem trivial, even repetitive— but this detailed information can be invaluable to science and conservation. Join Rodrigo Solis Sosa, our Human Network and Data Coordinator, as he explains how to use eButterfly in this recorded webinar from April 27.


New Feature Alert: User Profiles

Have you ever wondered who is helping to identify and verify your butterfly observations? Or maybe you wanted to learn more about someone that sees a lot of butterflies in your area? Now you can! We just released the first version or eButterfly user profiles. The profile page has a small image, the user level, stats, and their most recent photos. We’ll be adding more features in the future too. Click on any user name in eButterfly and view their profile. Fill out your profile so that others can learn about you too! Learn how…


Climate Generalist Butterflies Expected to be Winners Under Climate Change in Canada

Forecasting species responses to climate change is integral to the development of adaptive and practical conservation decisions. Butterflies are climate-constrained in at least two ways, as ectotherms, the climate has a defining role in dictating where butterflies can live. Additionally, a warming climate may have huge impacts on their host plant availability. These constraints could mean certain butterfly species may have to move north, or up in elevation, to stay within their preferred temperature range. Predicting how butterflies might respond to such temperature and host plant shifts could inform decisions involving conservation prioritization, species management, and natural resource management.


New eButterfly Updates Just in Time for Spring

We’re excited to announce some great improvements and new tools for eButterfly that we just released, with even more on the way. Our team has worked hard all winter to improve how the communications center operates, adding additional languages, upgrading the checklist submission process, improving the user experience for viewing checklists, updates that increase the performance of eButterfly, and many minor bug fixes.


A Giant Leap for a Butterfly in Vermont and Beyond

In 2010 when the largest butterfly in North America fluttered among Ardys Fisher’s flowers at the end of July, she knew it was something neat. Now, our study published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution this week shows an unusually rapid northward range shift by the Eastern Giant Swallowtail over the last two decades.


Dramatic Decline in Western Butterfly Populations Linked to Fall Warming

Western butterfly populations are declining at an estimated rate of 1.6% per year, according to a new report published this week in Science. The report looks at more than 450 butterfly species, including the western monarch, whose latest population count revealed a 99.9% decline since the 1980s.


2020 eButterfly Year in Review

From the first observation of 2020, a Gulf Fritillary nectaring on the Gulf coast of Florida submitted by Gary Leavens, to a Long-tailed Skipper nectaring at the end of December shared by mbspang, butterfly watchers added over 38,500 butterfly records to the ever growing eButterfly database of checklists. The reports fluttered in all summer long. We had more than 8,300 checklists with over 22,000 photographs comprising 523 species of butterflies reported during the year.


International Monarch Monitoring Blitz 2020

From July 24 to August 2, 2020, volunteers in Canada, Mexico and the United States helped monarch experts gain more information to enable better understanding of the distribution of the migratory monarch butterfly, an emblematic North American species. This year 520 volunteers across 68 states and provinces participated in the Blitz. They recorded 9,649 monarchs at various stages of their life cycle, from eggs to full-fledged butterflies. And together, they monitored 40,321 milkweed plants, the sole food source for monarch caterpillars.


Climate Change Could Cause Decline of some Alpine Butterfly Species

The long-term effects of climate change suggests that the butterfly effect is at work on butterflies in the alpine regions of North America, according to a new study by University of Alberta scientists—and the predictions don’t bode well. The researchers used climate change models to understand the effects of changing ecosystems on alpine butterflies in North America. The results show that alpine butterflies who have specialized diets, meaning that they feed on one or a few plants, are more vulnerable to climate change because of fluctuations in their food. On the other hand, butterflies that have diverse diets are less likely to be affected.


The Quest for My Biggest Butterfly Holy Grail – Jamaican Giant Swallowtail

‘Holy Grail’ butterflies are those rare, remote, hard-to-find, attractive species that linger in the imagination. For Peter Hall, the holiest of grails for many years, beginning in his childhood, was the Jamaican Giant Swallowtail (Papilio homerus). It was more like a myth than an actual species – seen by few and living in only two isolated and diminishing locations in the remoter rainforest of the Caribbean island, Jamaica.


eButterfly’s Commitment to Fostering Inclusivity and Racial Justice

United by our passion for butterflies, eButterfly is a community where we share observations, photographs, and expertise. We also share a deep conviction that our collective experiences and observations will ultimately make the world a better place for butterflies, people, and the environment we inhabit together. 


Recorded eButterfly Webinar Now Available

Are you looking to turn your love of butterfly watching into real science and conservation? Try eButterfly! Join eButterfly’s Rodrigo Solis for an hour-long recorded webinar and learn the basics and more about how to use eButterfly. Watch as he goes through the three easy steps to adding a butterfly checklist, how to use the new identification tool, explore data, and more. All from the comfort of your own screen and at your own pace. What are you waiting for? Let Rodrigo help get you started! 


Pursuing Butterfly Holy Grails

For every butterflier, I would be willing to bet that over the years, when out on field trips, you have had some ‘special’ butterflies in mind that you hope to come across – in other words, ‘Holy Grails’ or, simply, grails.


From Panama to the Arctic a New eButterfly is Here

It’s been over a year in the making. We’re excited to announce a completely new and retooled eButterfly. Now you can track butterflies you’ve seen from Panama to the Caribbean and north to the far reaches of the arctic, covering over 40 countries and more than 3,000 species of butterflies. Explore the new look and experience the social media-inspired features we’ve added to facilitate sharing and communication between users, or use the new efficient and fun, crowd-sourced verification tool. Help us build big butterfly data for science and education. Learn more…


Ten Steps to Better Butterfly Photography (new camera optional)

Summer 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.


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 […]


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 […]


Super Bloom and Super Butterflies in Southern California

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


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 […]


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, […]


Expedition James Bay 2018

By Rodrigo Solis On June 19th, 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, as pre-trip to the LepSoc meeting […]


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 […]


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 […]


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, […]


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 […]


Volunteer Data Reviewers Make eButterfly Shine

Anyone 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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


November Butterflying in the Lower Rio Grande Valley

In 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 […]


Canada’s Iconic Migrants at Grave Risk

  From 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 […]


Team eButterfly Visits Florida

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 […]


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

For 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 […]


New Mission Monarch Project Powered by eButterfly

Butterfly enthusiasts across the country are being asked by Canadian experts to get out and look for milkweed plants, then to share their findings with Mission Monarch, a new project powered by eButterfly. The data collection protocol is very easy to follow and was designed so that everyone can participate. It’s a great way to enjoy the summer and some outdoor fun with friends or family.


Vermont Butterfly Big Year Takes Flight

With 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 […]


Make eButterfly Your New Year’s Resolution in 2016

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 […]


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

For 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, […]


eButterfly Visits the White House

This 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 […]


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

An 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 […]


Epic James Bay Expedition

On 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 […]


The Waltz of the Hickory Hairstreaks

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 […]


Admirals at Sea

Drifting 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, […]


eButterfly’s Eclosure

The 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 […]


December eButterflyer of the month: YOU!

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 […]


A Target on Your Back Is Useful

Life 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 […]


November’s eButterflyer of the Month : Daniel Jones

This 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 […]


Looking for a Few Good Cabbage Whites

Hey 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 […]


Sharing Your Historical Data with eButterfly

By Peter Hall, Ottawa, Ontario 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 […]


August eButterflyer of Month: Colin Walton

This 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 […]


New Butterfly Field Guide for Ontario

eButterfly 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 […]


July eButterflyer of Month: Gary Anweiler

This 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 […]


Welcome to eButterfly 3.0!

We 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 […]


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. […]


June eButterflyer of the Month: Roy Pilcher

With 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 […]


May eButterflier of the Month

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 […]


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, 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, […]