Experts: Orange Butterflies in Quebec


Published: 18Sep2017

Orange butterflies have been spotted by many in the South of Quebec this weekend. Contrary to popular beliefs, they are not monarchs, but Painted Ladies.

Stéphanie Boucher, Curator, Lyman Entomological Museum

She’s an insect expert. She can answer your questions about butterflies.
stephanie.boucher [at], 514-398-7914 (English, French)

Vinko Culjak Mathieu, Graduate student in Biology, McGill University

“They are Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui) and not Viceroys or Monarchs. There are a few compounding reasons we are seeing so many Painted ladies this week:

  1. They migrate south in the fall in search of warmer weather so we are seeing many of those migrants on their journey south.
  2. They migrate quite high in the sky but the recent warm weather has encouraged them to come down to the ground and forage for nectar.
  3. They were quite successful in breeding this year, so we are seeing much larger populations.
  4. It is interesting to note that we are experiencing an El Niño year which has resulted in a wetter spring and an extended summer.” —Vinko Culjak Mathieu

He’s an insect expert. He’s interested in the impacts of climate change on insect communities and ecosystem functions.
vinko.culjakmathieu [at] (English)