American Snout (Libytheana carinenta) (Cramer, 1777)

Diagnosis: This distinctive-looking butterfly is medium-sized (wingspan: 41 to 51 mm) and has the palpi on the head formed into a beak like projection. The forewing is squared off at the tip; on the upperside it is orange towards the base with four white spots near the tips, and on the underside is mostly orange and black with several large white spots near the tip. The hindwing is brown and orange on the upperside and mottled purplish grey beneath.

Subspecies: Three subspecies have been recorded in the U.S., but only subspecies bachmanii occurs in Canada.

Range: Mainly a butterfly occurring from the southern U.S. southwards, the American Snout is not a permanent resident of Canada, but is an occasional breeding migrant, particularly at Point Pelee, Ontario. It has been recorded in Ontario as far north as Manitoulin Island and Ottawa, and in Quebec as far as Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel, Champlain County.

Specimen collection data

Description of this image follows.
American Snout
(Libytheana carinenta bachmanii).
Point Pelee, Ont. J. Cossey

Similar Species: None in Canada.

Early Stages: The dark green larva has a yellow dorsal line. The thorax is swollen and the larva tapers towards the rear. In Canada, it has only been recorded feeding on Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis). This species does not appear to overwinter in Canada.

Abundance: A rare migrant in most of its Canadian range, the American Snout has been common at Point Pelee in years when migratory butterflies are numerous.

Flight Season: Likely triple-brooded at Point Pelee (Wormington, 1983). It has been recorded there from June into late September.

Habits: The American Snout should be looked for close to its larval food plant, Hackberry, usually in or near wet areas such as wooded swamps or river banks. In some years it makes huge northward migrations. When alighted on a twig with its wings closed it has a close resemblance to a dead leaf with the snout looking like a leaf stem.

Remarks: Most authors now treat the North American subspecies bachmanii and what was formerly known as the "Mexican Snout" (Libytheana carinenta (Cramer)), as a single species with a range extending from Canada to Argentina.

© 2002. This material is reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.