Butterfly Sightings on Cortes Island

In 2019, Mike Yip gave a presentation on the distribution of butterflies on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands for the Cortes Island Museum’s Speaker Series.  Mike is an accomplished amateur photographer who, along with James Miskelly, has produced a beautiful book Vancouver Island Butterflies. This book is a handy tool for identification and is available in the Museum Shop.

While butterfly distribution maps for Vancouver Island are available, there is very little known about their distribution on the Northern Gulf Islands. Recently, the Silver-spotted Skipper, Epargyreus clarus, presumed extinct in this region of Canada for over 100 years, was discovered on Cortes Island! For more information on this incredible find, check out our blog “Still Alive and Skipping.”

You can help!

At the end of his talk, Mike challenged the audience and all Cortes Islanders to create a list of butterfly sightings for Cortes Island.  If you see and can identify a butterfly not checked off on the list below, please record the date, time, location and any pertinent information you observed, i.e. the plants it was nectaring or laying eggs on.  A photograph or two for identification confirmation is very helpful. It is also necessary for rare species. If you photograph a butterfly but can not positively identify it, we will help with the identification so send us your record. Please enter your sightings in the form below.

Check our Facebook Album: Cortes Island Butterflies for more images.

Butterfly images in the top photo (Common Wood-nymph, Taylor’s Checkerspot, Sara’s Orangetip) – by Mike Yip

Documented Sightings

Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus)

Pale Swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon)

Cedar Hairstreak (Callophyrs gryneus ssp. plicataria)

Barry Saxifrage

Western Brown Elfin (Callophrys augustinus)

Grey Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

Western Spring Azure (Celastrina echo)

Anna’s Blue (Aglais milberti)

Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

Milbert’s Tortoiseshell (Aglais milberti)

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Lorquin’s Admiral (Limenitis lorquini)


Common Wood-nymph (Cercyonis pegala)

Pine White (Neophasia menapia)

Cabbage White Butterfly (Pieris rapae)

Silver-spotted Skipper

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides)


Undocumented Sightings – please send us your photos and sightings details

Purplish Copper (Lycaena helloides)

Johnson's Hairstreak

Johnson’s Hairstreak (Callophrys johnsoni)


Please enter your butterfly sightings in the form below:

Butterfly Sightings

Share your butterfly sightings!

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