Observation of the week – August 21-27, 2021

Our sixteenth observation of the week is this Common Ringlet observed by Patrick (@patrick2008) and Alan at our butterfly blitz event on August 21st. It was a hot morning exploring for butterflies at Chris Gibson Park in Brampton. One of the first butterflies caught was this Common Ringlet that Patrick netted and jarred for everyone to see.

Patrick did a great job of using the netting technique that Laura, our ecologist demonstrated. Once in the net, Patrick placed the jar inside to get a better look at the butterfly. Patrick recounts, “It was flying around with others of its kind and skippers as well. The colours of the butterfly were orange, dark brown, and light brown with a dot on its wings. This species of butterfly is not endangered and can be found in grassy habitats.”

Patrick told us about his interest in rearing butterflies, especially monarchs and black swallowtails. He was introduced to them by a neighbour. As a student going into Grade 8, we were very impressed with Patrick’s knowledge of butterflies and other insects. It’s always great to see young ecologists in action!

The Common Ringlet is an interesting butterfly. You may have noticed that it recently underwent a taxonomic name change. The Common Ringlet that we have here (now called Coenonympha california) was formerly considered to be Coenonympha tullia or a subspecies of Coenonympha tullia, Coenonympha tullia ssp. california. Coenonympha tullia is known from Europe and is called the Large Heath there. Recent taxonomic evidence suggests that the Coenonympha species found here is different from that found in Europe, so it has been renamed Coenonympha california.

There does seem to be one or more subspecies of Coenonympha tullia found in North America – but only in the northwest (e.g., the Yukon Ringlet Coenonympha tullia ssp. yukonensis).

The taxonomic change on iNaturalist was made on July 29th of this year. If you added a Common Ringlet to the project before then it would have been identified as Coenonympha tullia but now is Coenonympha california. There’s always something new to learn about butterflies! What have you discovered recently? Let us know!

Lähettänyt lindseyjennings lindseyjennings, 1. syyskuuta 2021 12:58


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