Provincial Partner

What we do

Annual lecture
Butterfly atlas
Moth Atlas
Moth Checklist
Contribute Records
Other Publications
Field trips
Insect counts
Student symposium
Research grant

About the TEA

Rearing Permit
Membership / Donate

About insects

Insects of Ontario
Endangered sp. / Laws
Butterfly Gardening

Contact us

For Ontario Nature

Herp Atlas

Our history

Milestones (for more details, see the April 2010 issue of Ontario Insects, p. 42)

1967: A Toronto-based insect organization, termed the Toronto branch of the Michigan Entomological Society (MES), is founded by 3 people from the Royal Ontario Museum and one of their spouses. The first meeting is held Sept. 17, 1967 in High Park, Toronto. The MES never formally established a Toronto branch.

1969: After a vote of members, the Toronto Entomologists' Association (TEA) is established as an independent organization and welcomes members throughout Ontario. Today, the majority (57%) of our members are from outside the Greater Toronto area. Early TEA members were given a membership certificate, for which a shiny gold sticker was issued on membership renewal each year. The TEA also created crests for members to wear on jackets.

1970: The TEA publishes its first annual seasonal summary of butterfly records from across Ontario. The series habeen continued right up to the present day. Since moth records are included in some years, it is now called Ontario Lepidoptera. Over 2,600 pages of records have been published.

1979: We become a member group of Ontario Nature, which is an umbrella organization for naturalists’ groups in Ontario. In 2010, our status changes to "provincial partner," reflecting our province-wide interests.

1991: With $24,000 of funding from the Ontario government and several foundations and charities, we publish 1,000 copies of a 165-page book, The Ontario Butterfly Atlas. Using data from the seasonal summaries, the book shows distribution maps for each species. To manage the flurry of activity around the Atlas, the TEA creates a Board of Directors.

1992: The TEA sponsors its first butterfly count in the Rouge River and Don River valleys in eastern Toronto, under the direction of Tom Mason of the Toronto Zoo and following the format promoted by the North American Butterfly Association (NABA).

1993: The TEA welcomes its 100th member. Today, there are about 160 members.

1994: We hold our first Student Symposium, which is now the March meeting of every year. Also, for each year since 2000, we have offered a research grant to students.

1995: We publish the first regular edition of our newsletter Ontario Insects, which appears three times per year. In 2014, 76 pages of articles were published.

1995: The popular butterfly count idea is extended to dragonflies and damselflies , as Colin Jones organizes a Highway 60 Algonquin Odonata Count.

1996: The TEA becomes a registered charity, which allows us to issue tax receipts for donations. Our charitable goals are insect education, insect research and insect conservation.

2000: The TEA obtains a permit from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) for the rearing or collecting of the monarch butterfly and most swallowtail species. Members whose names are listed with the MNR are exempted from the normal legal rule limiting such activities to one specimen, although other limits apply. The permit lapsed for some years, but has been renewed annually since 2010.

2000: The TEA publishes the first volume of Ontario Odonata, our seasonal summary of records of dragonflies and damselflies from across Ontario. The publication lapsed after 2005.

2000: We start an email list advising TEA members and others of our meetings and field trips. Over 250 people now subscribe.

2001: The TEA starts a website under the domain name www.ontarioinsects.org. The website now includes 124 separate web pages and over 4,000 pages of documents in pdf form, including older seasonal summaries and issues of Ontario Insects.

2010: Our magazine Ontario Insects begins to publish in full colour.

2011: In November, we hold the first Quimby F. Hess Annual Lecture, sponsored by his family in his memory. Speaker: Peter Hall. This has been a fixture of our meetings calendar ever since, with the exception of the lectures cancelled because of covid in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Read more about this lecture series here.

2011: The Ontario Butterfly Atlas -- a web-based butterfly atlas, to replace the print version from 1991 -- is born in April.

2016: TEA member Alan Macnaughton wins Ontario Nature's Achievement Award "for his commitment to citizen science initiatives through the creation of an interactive mapping application."

2017: In the spring, The TEA launches the Ontario Moth Atlas.

2019: The TEA institutes the Glenn Richardson Research Award, named after our late president, with funding from the Richardson family and TEA members. The amount is $800, which is double the amount we have previously awarded. Also, TEA member Don Davis wins Ontario Nature's W. E. Saunders Natural History Award "for promoting the study, conservation and public awareness of the monarch butterfly."

2021: Rick Cavasin of Ottawa, sponsor of the Ontario Butterflies website and author of various fold-out butterfly guides, wins the Entomological Society of Canada's Norman Criddle Award. This award is to recognize the contribution of an outstanding non-professional entomologist to the furtherance of entomology in Canada. Rick is the fifth TEA member to win this award, after Alan Hanks in 1982, Ross Layberry in 2001, Alan Macnaughton in 2013, and Louis Handfield in 2015. Also, Karen Yukich wins Ontario Nature's W. W. H. Gunn Conservation Award "for her dedication to the restoration and conservation of nature in Toronto's High Park." She is the third TEA member to receive this award, after Bob Bowles in 2006 and Bill McIlveen in 2017. Finally, this summer a group including TEA president Jessica Linton is to re-introduce the Mottled Duskywing butterfly to its former habitat in the Pinery Provincial Park.

For a personal account of T.E.A. history and conservation efforts, see this 2005 article by Alan Hanks in the newsletter of the Michigan Entomological Society (v. 50, nos. 3 and 4). Paul Catling also published an account of T.EA. activities in the 1970s in the 1978 Ontario Naturalist.

Much TEA history is also reflected in the TEA newsletters, which appeared starting in the mid-1960s and have continued until the present day.

Presidents of the T.E.A.

  • J. C. E. Riotte, 1969-1970 (born 1901, died 2000). Rev. Riotte was a Research Associate with the Department of Entomology of the ROM until he left to join the Bishop Museum in Hawaii in 1975.
  • Ron Michaels, 1970-1973
  • A. Gordon Edmund, 1973-1977 (born 1924, died 2004)
  • Paul Catling, 1977-1978
  • Doug Scovell, 1978-1983 (born 1925, died 1997)
  • W. J. D. (John) Eberlie, 1983-1990 (born 1921, died 1999)
  • Quimby Hess, 1990-1992 (born 1917, died 2010)
  • Phil Schappert, 1992-1996
  • Duncan Robertson, 1996-1998 (born 1926, died 2015)
  • Nancy van der Poorten, 1998-2004
  • Glenn Richardson, 2004-2018 (born 1962, died 2018)
  • Jessica Linton, 2018-2021
  • Bipin Dhinsa, 2021-2023
  • Antonia Guidotti, 2023-present

TEA Vice-Presidents

  • Walter Plath, 1969
  • Paul Catling and William Edmonds, 1972-73
  • J. C. E. Riotte, 1974-75
  • Doug Scovell, 1977-78
  • Alan Brown, 1978-80
  • Jim Troubridge, 1980-81
  • Quimby Hess, 1983-90
  • Phil Schappert, 1990-92
  • Duncan Robertson, 1992-96
  • Tony Holmes, 1996-98
  • Jim Spottiswood, 1999-2004
  • Clewdd Burns, 2005
  • Alan Macnaughton, 2006-present

TEA Treasurers

  • Isabel Smythe, 1968
  • Ron Michaels, 1969-72
  • Jon Maxim, 1972-74
  • Alan Hanks, 1974-2006
  • Chris Rickard, 2006-2021

TEA Recording Secretaries

  • Isabel Smythe, 1968
  • Ron Michaels, 1969-72
  • Jon Maxim, 1972-74
  • Quimby Hess, 1974-78
  • Alan Hanks, 1978-80
  • Christopher Mettrick, 1981-82
  • Mel Tintpulver, 1983-86
  • Phil Schappert, 1990-92
  • Nancy van der Poorten, 1992-98
  • Paul McGaw, 1999
  • Nancy van der Poorten, 2000-04
  • Alan Macnaughton, 2005-06
  • Bill McIlveen, 2019-2021
  • Albert Tomchyshyn, 2021-present

Editors of Ontario Lepidoptera (seasonal summaries)

  • 1969: Paul Catling and Cecil H. Walker
  • 1970: Paul Catling, W. (Bill) Edmonds and Cecil H. Walker (butterflies), Ron Michaels and J. C. E. Riotte (moths)
  • 1971: Paul Catling and Cecil H. Walker
  • 1972-74: Quimby Hess
  • 1975: Quimby Hess and Alan Hanks
  • 1976: Quimby Hess, Walter Plath and Alan Hanks
  • 1977: Quimby Hess and Alan Hanks
  • 1978-91: Quimby Hess
  • 1992-2000: Alan Hanks
  • 2001: Alan Hanks (butterflies) and Jeffrey Crolla (moths)
  • 2002: Colin Jones (butterflies) and Jeffrey Crolla (moths)
  • 2003-04: Colin Jones
  • 2005: Colin Jones and Ross Layberry
  • 2006-2013: Ross Layberry and Colin Jones
  • 2014-2016: Ross Layberry and Jessica Linton
  • 2017-2018: Rick Cavasin and Jessica Linton
  • 2019-present: Laura Hockley and Alan Macnaughton

Editors of Ontario Odonata (seasonal summaries)

  • 1999-2005: Paul Catling, Colin Jones and Paul Pratt

Editors of Ontario Insects

  • 1995-1996: Phil and Pat Schappert (This replaced the 1-3 page minutes of each TEA meeting which Alan Hanks produced from 1969 to 1994).
  • 1997-1998: Phil Lester and Matt Holder
  • 1998-2000: Vanessa Carney
  • 2000-2005: Colin Jones
  • 2006-2013: Glenn Richardson
  • 2013-2017: Jessica Linton
  • 2018- 2022: Charlotte Teat
  • 2022-present: Contact the editor at editor@ontarioinsects.org

Meetings Co-ordinators

  • 1992-1994: Phil Schappert
  • 1994-2000: Paul McGaw
  • 2000-2001: Carolyn King
  • 2001-2011: Carol Sellers
  • 2011-present: Antonia Guidotti



Our Conservation Efforts

One thing that has become apparent to the membership through the T.E.A. summaries is that there are several butterfly species in Ontario that appear to have low numbers of reports. The Association has been particularly involved with three species -- the West Virginia White, the Frosted Elfin and the Karner Blue.

In 1970 the only known locality for the West Virginia White, in the Halton County Forest, was under threat of quarrying by the Aggregate Producers Association of Ontario. A letter was sent by Paul Catling to the Dept. of Lands & Forests in Toronto apprising them of the situation and the potential quarrying operation was halted. In 1974, another letter was sent to the Ministry of Natural Resources (M.N.R.) requesting the butterfly be protected under the Endangered Species Act and in 1975 a publication was produced on the butterfly with all relevant data. In 1976 the butterfly was listed as an endangered species. Then, in 1977, a new Hydro corridor was proposed to pass through the Halton Co. Forest and letters were sent to the Ontario Hydro Chairman and the M.N.R. A task force was set up within Ontario Hydro and in 1978, the proposed corridor was diverted around the area of concern.

Later, in 1979, a colony of the butterfly was discovered in Frontenac County north of Kingston, followed by colonies being found in Elgin County near London and a location near Sault Ste. Marie. The butterfly was later taken off the
endangered list. TEA seasonal summaries show that this species was observed at 11 locations from 2006 to 2009.

The Karner Blue and Frosted Elfin, both reliant on Wild Lupine, comprise a sad story, with two sites in Essex County and the Pinery at Grand Bend in Huron County being the only known locations in Ontario in the 1970s. Considerable work was carried out by the T.E.A. on both species, with reports appearing in our annual summaries and field studies carried out by many of the members. In 1979, the Karner Blue was nominated as a threatened species in the United States and the T.E.A. was writing letters to the M.N.R. Problems at the Pinery site included development and the advent of all-terrain vehicles tearing up the dune habitat where the wild lupine thrived.

Management plans were created for both sites and lupine seed collection and re-planting were attempted. At the Pinery, the deer population suddenly started to flourish, and deer were not kept out of the Karner Blue areas. Since deer consume everything green within their reach, even the few lupine patches eventually disappeared. The M.N.R. placed both the Karner Blue and Frosted Elfin on the Endangered list in 1990, but it was too late to do anything. Both of these species were believed to
be exti
rpated in Ontario by that time.