Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Butterflies can be found almost anywhere in Kananaskis. Their distinctive colour scheme makes them easy to identify. That brilliant yellow and orange band along the wing edge stands out against the dark brown of their wings and body.
Milbert’s are unique to North America, ranging from Alaska down almost to the Gulf Coast. There are actually 5 subspecies, too. For folks who like to photograph butterflies, it has the kind habit of opening its wings almost flat when it’s at rest.
Though it is not a plant you want to find normally, if you see Stinging Nettle, you’ll almost always find Milbert’s larvae/caterpillars on it in May through July. Adults feed on most flowers, but particularly like White Thistle and non-native Canada Thistle. They also can be found on Aspens and Poplars eating sap. For some reason, you often find them on the ground in rocks and dirt. They can also have 2 broods a year. If those nettles are still around in August, expect to see adults emerging in September.
Meet more butterflies of K-Country here!