Ontario Butterfly Atlas

This program represents the longest-running effort to organize citizen scientist (amateur naturalist) collection of distribution data for butterflies in North America. This project is an effort to collect data and display presence records for all butterflies in the Ontario area separated by 10km squares for the year the observation was recorded (1994 and before, 2011 or after, in between). Visitors can sort records by the year of the most recent record or the year of the first record. Most records are based on observations, but museum records going back to 1879 have also been compiled.

The latest version of the atlas, released in May 2014, is based on 221,000 butterfly records: all TEA seasonal summaries (Ontario Lepidoptera), which cover the period 1969-2013; records from eButterfly up to December 31, 2013; specimen data from many museums, including the Canadian National Collection (but not the ROM yet); and the private records of more than 75 individual observers. About 98% of the observations are of adults, but observations of other life stages are also included. Butterfly count data is included only to the extent that it appears in individual contributors' reports with specific location information.

Monitoring Activity Tracker


Program Started: 1969
Institution Type: NGO
Data Availability: Data available online and also in books. Online maps allow grid cells to be clicked to reveal raw data records (no lat-longs). Raw data available to researchers upon request. Contact Alan Macnaughton (amacnaug@uwaterloo.ca)
Species Focus: All butterfly species
Contact: Alan Macnaughton (amacnaug@uwaterloo.ca)


Protocol Type: Atlas
Data Type(s): Presence only
Survey Focus: Adults
Effort Tracking: None
Additional Notes: Data infrastructure notes: Maps are displayed in the Google Maps format. The Atlas web page produces these maps using a Google Fusion Tables API (written in JavaScript) to call the required map and the associated attribute file (species lists, contributor lists, etc.). The Atlas web page also can retrieve the raw data on individual observations from a MySQL file. The attribute file, which Fusion Tables requires to be in CSV format, is produced using Excel macros. Geographic units for individual observations (counties, 10 km squares, etc.) are determined using QGIS. All of this code is publicly available.
Taxonomic Standard: Modified Pelham 2013