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Document Type

Peer-Review Article

Abstract

(excerpt)

On 26 June, 1976, I stopped to examine plants and collect insects on the alvars or limestone barrens on Great La Cloche Island, north of Little Current in Manitoulin District, Ontario. 1 was especially interested to learn whether or not there were any insects of western affinity in this area since some of the plant species present are at, or near to, the eastern limits of their distribution (Catling et al., 1975). It was mild and sunny, and insects were abundant. Within a few minutes 1 noticed a dark, fast-flying skipper that otherwise resembled Thymeliczrs lineola (Ochsenheimer). The dark colour and whitish veins on the hind wing beneath suggested Oarisma powesheik (Parker), a midwestern species known in Michigan since 1893 (McAlpine, 1972) and recently discovered further to the east and south within the state (Holzman, 1972; Wagner, 1976, pers. comm.). However, the relatively small size made this identification unlikely. 1 captured a few specimens, but had to leave the area without investigating the habitat, abundance and local distribution of the unfamiliar butterfly. The earliest opportunity for further investigation came a week later on 3 July, when I was again favoured with a warm sunny day. After collecting in a variety of habitats, I finally arrived on the alvar on the west side of highway 68 in the immediate vicinity of McGregor Bay, La Cloche Peninsula (ca. 46"02' North, 81°46' West). I collected several specimens of the strange little skipper and saw at least 20 within one half hour, then continued south on highway 68 onto Great La Cloche Island. Here south of the highway and the Canadian Pacific railway tracks, and south and west of Lewis Lake (ca. 46"OO' North, 81°52' West), I found at least 10 more of the skippers in similar alvar habitat. Both of these locations are south of Espanola and north of Little Current in the North Channel, Manitoulin District, Ontario.

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