Canadian Forest Service Publications

Annotated checklist of the moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera) of Canada and Alaska. 2018. Pohl, G.R.; Landry, J.-F.; Schmidt, B.C.; Lafontaine, J.D.; Troubridge, J.T.; Macaulay, A.D.; Van Nieukerken, E.J.; DeWaard, J.R.; Dombroskie, J.J.; Klymko, J.; Nazari, V.; Stead, K. Pensoft Publishers, Sofia, Bulgaria. 580 p.

Year: 2018

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39796

Language: English

Availability: Not available through the CFS (click for more information).

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The first comprehensive checklist of the Lepidoptera of Canada and Alaska is presented. Taxonomic papers, historical regional checklists, and many collections were consulted to prepare the list. The known distributions of species are listed for the provinces and territories of Canada and the state of Alaska in the USA. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is further divided into separate listings. A total of 5431 species belonging to 82 families are confirmed as occurring in Canada and Alaska, as well as 53 species that have been reported from the region but not yet verified, 19 species listed as interceptions or unsuccessful introductions, and 52 species listed as probably occurring in the region. A total of 318 species have been reported in error in historical works, and they are listed as well, clearly indicated as erroneous records. All erroneous records and uncertain listings are detailed with notes. All Nearctic subspecies and synonyms are included in the list, except for butterfly subspecies (and their synonyms) that do not occur in the region.

Plain Language Summary

This publication documents 5473 Lepidoptera species (moths and butterflies) reported for Canada and Alaska. Records were extracted from over 100 years of scientific literature and from insect collections across Canada. Notes are provided for selected species, and 222 species are reported as introduced from outside North America. An additional 46 species whose occurrence in the region is probable are included in the list. We provide a list of 316 species erroneously reported in the region in previous works; this paper corrects misidentifications and errors, many of which have persisted in the literature for decades. The introductory section provides an overview of the order Lepidoptera, a review of the history of lepidoptera research in Canada and Alaska, and the sources used to compile this work. Lepidoptera are one of the most diverse and economically important groups of insects, with approximately 157,000 species worldwide. This work represents a major advance in our understanding of the Lepidoptera fauna of Canada and Alaska. It establishes a definitive list of the species that occur in the region, and clarifies erroneous records in past works. It provides a knowledge baseline that will be useful to resource and conservation managers, biodiversity researchers, taxonomists, amateur collectors, and naturalists.