Butterflies of Canada
Butterflies prefer open and sunny areas such as meadows and along woodland edges that provide bright flowers, water sources, and specific host plants for their caterpillars. Gardeners have been attracting butterflies to their gardens for some time. To encourage butterflies place flowering plants where they have full sun and are protected from the wind. They usually look for flowers that provide a good landing platform. Butterflies need open areas (e.g., bare earth, large stones) where they can bask, and moist soil from which they wick needed minerals. Butterflies eat rotten fruit and even dung, so don’t clean up all the messes in your garden! By providing a safe place to eat and nest, gardeners can also support the pollination role that butterflies play in the landscape. In the Lake Erie Lowland ecoregion it is common to see the Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistocles), the Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes), the Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele), and the Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) butterfly.