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« Ontario Field Naturalist's Toolchest
Order Lepidoptera includes both butterflies and moths. Butterflies fly in the day and are the most popular group of insects people identify. Moths are nocturnal, more numerous (species wise) and not so colorful. Even so moths do get some attention, the giant silkworm moths are a sight to see.
Photograph based. The new must have for all Ontario. Extensive natural history section, comparative plates and excellent species profiles. Pictures of the caterpillars are shown.
Butterflies of the North Woods, 2nd Edition Pub
Photograph based. The previous must have for central Ontario. It is missing coverage of some species from northern and eastern Ontario plus some rare strays from southern Ontario.
Point Pelee National Park Nature Series - Butterflies of Point Pelee Pub GB
Photograph based. A southern Ontario butterfly book. Quality of species profiles unknown.
Butterflies through Binoculars: The East GB
Photograph based. Has the great information on how to find butterflies. However, it uses photographs and the photographs are separated from the species profiles. Covers Eastern North America.
A Pocket Guide to Butterflies of Southern & Eastern Ontario Pub
A guide to carry when you don't want to carry a whole field guide. Nice thing about pockets guides like this is you can see all the species side by side and the weigh is minimal..
Photograph based. Has the most detailed information on how to find butterflies. Has a chapter on butterfly gardening. Quality of species profiles unknown. Covers common North American species.
Butterflies of the Great Lakes Region Pub Am
The Butterflies of Point Pelee National Park >>
Pictorial Pocket Guide to the Butterflies of the Kingston Region Pub
Manitoba Butterflies Pub Brochure
Photograph based. Not very portable, covers only common species but is cheap and interesting to read. For beginners.
Stokes' Beginner's Guide to Butterflies Am
Photograph based. A beginner's guide to butterflies. A possible starting point but "Butterflies of the North Woods" is not that hard for beginners.
Common Butterflies and Skippers of Eastern North America Am
Video. An introduction to butterflies.
Skippers of the Northeast >>
Video. A video guide to the difficult to separate skippers. Also available on the web at Skippers of the Northeast
Common Butterflies of the Northeast >>
Photograph based, digitally altered. Recommended guide to fill in species missing from Butterflies of the North Woods. Nice format. Use digitally modified photographs. Handy for identifying skippers because it includes variations of skippers and has some better photos than the North Wood's guide.
Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Butterflies GB
Illustration based. Species profiles and illustrations are separate.
(James Scott's) Butterflies of North America GB Pub(CR-ROM)
Reference. Contains keys for immature forms (eggs, first stage larvae, mature larvae, and pupae) of North American butterflies. Uses plates. Uses scientific names not common names. Available on CD-ROM or in book form. One of the few books to describe subspecies of butterflies.
Butterflies of Canada GB
Reference, photobased based, color plates, specimens?, detailed range maps. Lots of tidbits of useful information not found in the other field guides.
Butterflies of Ontairo and Eastern Canada Indigo A witty & newer field guide to butterflies by John Acorn.
Butterflies of Ontario. A trove of resources. One neat feature is you can get a map of Ontario sightings for each species. He also has a site for Ottawa as well.
Aids for Identifying Butterflies and Moths
North American Butterfly Association (yearly counts) The association for butterflies. Sign up for butterfly counts here.
Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society
The Lepidopterists' Society
Butterflies and Moths of North America Only for US and Mexico unfortunately, but might be useful. Eventually Canada will be covered.
Wisconsin Butterflies Beautiful collection of photos.
Skippers of the Northeast Online identification video guide to skippers.
Sentinels on the Wing: The Status and Conservation of Butterflies in Canada (June 2009) from Nature Serve Canada
T.E.A. Seasonal Summaries of Lepidoptera Annual seasonal summaries of Ontario's butterflies. Sometimes moths are covered.
A Field Guide to Butterflies of Prince Edward County and the Surrounding Region A local field guide
Checklists: Penokean Hills Field Naturalists (Elliot Lake)| Thunder Bay | North Bay | Friend of Wye Marsh Biomonitoring Report | Carden Field Naturalists | Kington Field Naturalists | Ottawa (booklet form) | Pembroke | Friends of Point Pelee | Essex County | Friends of Pinery Park | Hamilton | Toronto (booklet form)
Moths are just too numerous to have a comprehensive field guide devoted to them. With about 3000 species in Ontario and perhaps between 500 to 1000 species within a reasonable day trip, it is just too much.. For information on every species you need to consult the Internet.
iNaturalist The easiest way to ID moths. The AI behind iNaturalist is quite good at identifying moths. Even if it doesn't recognize the species -- it usually knows the genus. If the AI and your skills fail, there is likely somebody who will help you ID you moth.
TEA Checklist of Ontario Moths Most up-to-date checklist with links per species (when available) to iNaturalist, Moth Photographers Group, BugGuide, University of Alberta and Pacific Northwest Moths plus other info. Can be downloaded into a spreadsheet.
Moth Photographers Group and is the largest collection of images of moths in North America. It is also somewhat a portal on moths. Some recent changes have made the site easier to use for identifying moths.
Checklist of Moths of the Pembroke Area Field Naturalists. This is the only known checklist in Ontario. It you live near the Renfrew district it should be of use.
Moths of the Ottawa Area is a photographic guide to moths. Because of a bug in the menu system that puts part of the menu below the bottom of the screen, use F11 to put the screen in full screen mode. Excellent local resource.
Moths of Canada is an official guide to moths but can be a pain sometimes because you have to checkmark every moth you want to see a picture of.
Microleps is the only site to focus on micromoths, the tiny and very diverse group of the moths.
Jim des Rivieres Moth Images Another moth site based in Ottawa.
Moths in a Connecticut Woods is a website showing the discoveries of a moth watcher.
Moth Watching and David's Butterflies and Moths. Learn more about moths here.
Plume moths A rather difficult group of moths to identify to species.
Moth -- identification -- Discover Life A key where you narrow down what you saw and select one species from the photos given.
Butterfly and Moth Checklist of Canada and Alaska
Moths of Ohio Field Guide (PDF) A nice visual reference and detailed information on common species.
Photograph based, natural settings. The must have. Replaces the older Peterson's guide, unless you live in the southeastern United States. Digtal pictures of live moths in natural poses. Should be much easier to use.
Moths & Caterpillars of the North Woods Pub Am
Photograph based, natural settings. Covers common moths, about 300 species. A good introduction to moths and caterpillars. Good for learning about the various types of moths and some of their behaviors. Definitely the most interesting moth field guide out there.
Peterson's A Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America Am GB
Photograph based, specimens. It is available new in reprint and is more expensive than originally.
Le Guide des Papillons du Québec - Nouvelle édition Pub Pub(Translated) Pub(Scientific) Pub(Scientific translated)
Photograph based, specimens. Aside from the new Peterson's guide this is the best moth guide, unfortunately it is in French. Even so, much of it is designed to be usable by English speaking people. Includes whether a particular moth has been seen in one of five areas of Quebec. This is useful to you live beside Quebec such as Ottawa. Covers 1521 species, the best coverage, and includes 71 more species over the first edition. Also available is the scientific version of the book.
The Moth Book: A Popular Guide to a Knowledge of the Moths of North GB
Mostly text with some black and white illustrations and some color plates. Natural history of moths. Very old book.
MONA Series List
Reference, photograph based, specimens. This series lists and provides photographs for all the moths in North America (north of Mexico) for each family in each of its book. Very expensive.
Silkworm and Sphinx Moths of Southern Ontario Pub
Ontario Moths Checklist Pub
Ontario Moths Checklist 2021 Supplement Pub(PDF free)
The Cutworm Moths of Ontario & Quebec GB PDF
Sedge Moths of North America GB
The Wild Silk Moths of North America GB
The Hawk Moths of North America GB Pub
Legion of the Night: The Underwing Moths Pub
Note: comes on a CD
Photographs. Comprehensive guide to butterfly caterpillars.
Caterpillars of Eastern North America Pub
Photographs. Covers both butterfly and moth caterpillars.
Photo Field Guide to Some Caterpillars of Southern Ontario GB
Photographs. Covers common southern Ontario caterpillars.
Owlet Caterpillars of Eastern North America Pub This guide is out of print and way way overpriced used ($500+). You can get an ebook for cheaper. Another possiblity is to visit a university library and use their e-resources on their computers. Project MUSE
Geometroid Caterpillars of Northeastern and Appalachian Forests Archive PDF
Butterfly and Moth Caterpillars: Identification Guide Provide help with more common caterpillars. Pictures both the adult and the caterpillar. Many links to outside websites. Extensive life history information and an identification service. Members only area. Needs a central index or web pages.
Caterpillars of Eastern Forests Guide to 245 common caterpillars with photographs and descriptions of families and species.