Two-spotted skipper spotted in Pictou County

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A local participant in a five-year project to identify butterflies in the Maritimes has discovered a new species residing in Nova Scotia.

Ken McKenna, a well-known bird watcher in the area, discovered a two-spotted skipper.

“Its small size, drab appearance, preference for wet habitats and low population densities at occupied sites makes two-spotted skipper a chronically under-detected species in the Maritimes,” said John Klymco, director of the Maritime Butterfly Atlas. “It is considered uncommon in New Brunswick (an SRank of S3), with records scattered all over the province except the northwest.”

This is the first new species of butterfly spotted in Nova Scotia in a few years.

“Ken is certainly a surprise although it’s not entirely unexpected,” Klymco said.

He said the butterfly is in parts of New Brunswick so he was expecting it to show up at some point in Nova Scotia.

McKenna found his two-spotted skipper about 25 kilometres south of New Glasgow. To date he has submitted 1,323 butterfly records. “This is seven per cent of the roughly 18,000 records received so far for the Atlas,” Klymco said.

One of the goals of the Atlas has been to assess the conservation status of Maritime butterfly species. An outcome of this will be much more accurate assessments, he said.

“Funds for rare species research and conservation are scarce,” he said. “Having a good idea of which species are truly rare and in need of conservation allows for these scarce funds to be spent where they are needed most.”

More information on the atlas can be found at http://accdc.com/butterflyatlas.html.

Organizations: Maritime Butterfly Atlas

Geographic location: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Pictou County New Glasgow

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