The following insects are considered species at risk. If you see any species at risk, please Report your observations to HHLT, or directly to our project biologist, Paul Heaven, Glenside Ecological Services Ltd. Click here to download the Species at Risk Observation Summary Sheet and send it to us (see contact info) or send an email to Paul Heaven, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Monarch (Danaus plexippus) is categorized as Endangered nationally, and a species of Special Concern provincially.
There are four separate and distinct life stage of the Monarch consisting of egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and adult. The adult Monarch is a large butterfly with predominantly orange wings outlined by a broad black border and two rows of circular white spots. The Monarch caterpillar is striped with alternating white, yellow and black transverse bands, with a pair of black filaments at its head and tail. The Monarch chrysalis is green with a black and metallic gold band, and scattered gold spots.
The eastern Monarch breeds in southern Canada east of the Rockies and migrates to central Mexico to overwinter. In Ontario the Monarch is limited by the range of its main food source, milkweed, which extends throughout southern and central Ontario. Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) are the sole food source of the Monarch caterpillar and grow in open and periodically disturbed habitats such as roadsides, fields and wetlands. Adult Monarchs feed at milkweed flowers but require other wildflowers for nectar when milkweed is not in bloom. In the County of Haliburton important milkweeds for the Monarch are Common Milkweed and Swamp Milkweed.
Although the primary threat to the Monarch is forest loss and degradation in overwintering areas, the declining abundance of milkweed in Canada is also a significant threat. Milkweed declines have been attributed to the conversion of farmlands to larger and more intensive industrial agriculture use, and the use of herbicide resistant crops.