Olympia Marble (Euchloe olympia) (W.H. Edwards, 1872)

Diagnosis: This smallish (wingspan: 30 to 40 mm) white butterfly reveals its true beauty only closeup. It is chalky white on the upperside, with a grey bar at the end of the cell and light grey tips on theforewing. The greenish-yellow marbling on the underside of the hindwing forms three distinct bands.Fresh specimens have a pinkish tinge on the wings.

Range: Mainly a butterfly of the midwestern U.S., the Olympia Marble reaches into Canada in two areas. In the west, it is found in the southern Prairies from Alberta to Manitoba. Farther east, it ranges from north of Lake Huron to western Quebec.

Specimen collection data

The description of this image follows.
Olympia Marble (Euchloe olympia). Constance Bay, Ont. P.W. Hall

Similar Species: The only other marble found in its range is the Large Marble (E. ausonides), which has a more complex marbling pattern. [compare images]

Early Stages: The larva is green, striped along its length with grey and yellow. It feeds on the flowers and buds of a variety of rock cresses (Arabis spp.) and Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale). The pupa, when fresh, has a bright purplish hue.

Abundance: The Olympia Marble tends to be local and uncommon.

Flight Season: In both western and eastern Canada, the Olympia Marble is on the wing for a short period of time only in late May and early June.

Habits: The Olympia Marble is mainly a species of dryland areas. On the Prairies, it is usually found on grassy knolls or around badlands near its foodplants. In Ontario and Quebec, it is a species of dry meadows and open woodlands, most often found on alvars and old dunes.

Remarks: This butterfly has been expanding its range eastward since the 1970s, when it was first recorded in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

© 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.