New Butterfly Species Recorded for Vermont on iNaturalist
In October iNaturalist user James McNamara photographed a European Peacock Butterfly (Aglais io) in a garden in Calais, Vermont and reported it the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist marking the first state record for this species.
The species native range is in in Europe and Asia, but it was first found in 1997 in the Montréal, Québec region. A shipment of containers from Romania had arrived at the port a few days prior to the sighting and this may be the source of the introduction. It is now well established in the Greater Montréal area and extending into the southwest of the province.
In Québec, the European Peacock Butterfly overwinters and the adults fly from early spring to mid-September. They prefer open, sunny meadows, usually near woodlands, and borders of roads and railways, especially with Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) flowers, which is preferred for nectaring. Caterpillars feed on nettles (Urtica), which are abundant in the region.
It is likely that this record in Vermont originated from the introduced population in Quebec and we may discover more individuals and perhaps even breeding in the state. Next year be on the lookout for this introduced butterfly and report it to e-Butterfly.org or the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist.