Mormon Metalmark (Apodemia mormo) (C. & R. Felder, 1859)

Diagnosis: This small butterfly (wingspan: 25 to 32 mm) is the only Canadian representative of its family. The upperside ground colour is orange brown in the Canadian subspecies with many whites pots and black marks. The underside is grey with white spots; the central part of the forewing is orange on both the upper and lower surfaces.

Subspecies: The nominate subspecies mormo occurs in Canada.

Range: The Mormon Metalmark is widespread in the western U.S. and Mexico. In Canada it occurs near Val Marie in southwestern Saskatchewan and in extreme south-central British Columbia, historically near Oliver and Vaseaux Lake, but the only extant populations are along the Similkameen River near Keremeos.

Specimen collection data

Similar Species: None in Canada.

Early Stages: The larvae are dark violet with rows of short black spines, ochre at the base of the spines on the side. They feed on buckwheat (Eriogonum spp., Polygonaceae); they are associated with Eriogonum multiceps in Saskatchewan and with Snow Buckwheat (Eriogonum niveum) in British Columbia.

Abundance: This metalmark is extremely local in Canada and is at the extreme northern edge of its range.

Flight Season: In Canada the flight season is August and September.

Habits: Apodemia mormo tends to be a butterfly of dry areas with sandy soils. Very little is known about its habits in Canada.

Remarks: This is considered to be an endangered species in British Columbia (Guppy et al., 1994) and probably is in Saskatchewan as well. A survey of the species in 1996 resulted in the discovery of numerous colonies of the Mormon Metalmark along a 50-km stretch of the Similkameen River northand west of the U.S. border (Dennis St.-John, pers. comm.).

© 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.