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For Ontario Nature
Submitting Butterfly Records for the
TEA Seasonal Summaries and Atlas
(for Odonata records, see the bottom of this page)
The TEA has been compiling butterfly records since 1969. For 2018, over 500 contributors provided 30,000 butterfly records. But we can always use more data, especially from new contributors. Ontario is a big place! We solicit observations from members and non-members alike.
The TEA Seasonal Summary and the Ontario Butterfly Atlas shows that your data will be put to good use documenting species distributions and flight periods, both for the more populated areas and for the "empty squares" where we have no data at all.
Contributors send in data in many different formats, and that's fine with us. Some people send in handwritten records, while others use an Excel spreadsheet. Still others enter their data on the web at the e-Butterfly site, which is automatically shared with us. We also invite people to contribue records through iNaturalist -- especially moth records, since eButterfly is restricted to butterflies. To use iNaturalist, see this video.
Keep in mind that all records submitted to eButterfly and are plotted as exact points on the publicly-accessible maps; this may be important if you are submitting records of endangered species or you are reporting data from areas for which there is no public access. In eButterfly it is possible to specifically ask for the data to be recorded as “sensitive” or “confidential”, but if you want avoid having to make sure you added this restriction, just send the data directly to us and we will protect the location to the degree that you desire.
The main point is that each record should include the following data:
- Species name. Download the list here.
- Observation Date (Year, Month, Day)
- County (includes counties, regions, municipalities, districts such as Perth County, Waterloo Region, City of Toronto and Algoma District). Download the list here.
- Location (describe in words, giving enough details so that this location could be found again; those who have a GPS reading or can generate a latitude-longitude pair from Google Earth or Google Maps, for example, are encouraged to provide that in the Latitude and Longitude fields.
- Adults (the number of adult butterflies recorded> if no number is recorded, descriptive words such as “a few”, “several”, “many” will suffice. If no number was recorded leave this field blank or enter “present”)
- Immature (for those people that identify caterpillars (larvae), pupae or even eggs, enter the number of each life stage – e.g. 2 larvae)
- Record Type – it is very useful to know when a record has been documented by a photograph or a collected specimen versus a sight record or one that has been caught and released
If you are not sure how to record information, contact Alan Macnaughton (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he will email or phone you to assist you through the process.
Submit your data to Ross Layberry (email@example.com) after the season is over, by December 31. Records for past years are also welcome.
It is also fun to share observations with others right at the time, instead of waiting for the season to be over. For the area from Windsor east to Kingston, a good source to see and post the latest observations is the group Ontario Butterflies, which is part of Google Groups. For eastern Ontario, see East. Ontario and W. Quebec Butterflies, which is part of Yahoo Groups. We encourage observers to also submit data in the usual way, as discussed above.
- Basic Spreadsheet (containing above fields)
- Advanced Spreadsheet and Instructions (Experienced observers and those who have contributed in the past are encouraged to record additional information about their observations.)
Ontario records of odonata are also welcomed. We do not have an odonata atlas or a seasonal summary at the moment, but we like to get there. More information on how to submit records, and a downloadable records template, can be obtained from Colin Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org), 705-755-2166.