Mormon Metalmark
Apodemia mormo

Mormon Metalmark Larva

The Mormon Metalmark is a small butterfly with a wingspan of only 2.5 to 3.5 cm. It is mostly black and can be identified by the distinct orange, and white markings found along its wings. Native to northwestern North America, it can be found in the arid prairies of southwestern Saskatchewan, including Grasslands National Park, the Killdeer badlands and the Frenchman River Valley. There are only two populations of the Mormon Metalmark within Canada, one within the south-central part of British Columbia and the other located in the badlands of Southwestern Saskatchewan.

The butterfly produces one generation per year and eggs are laid in host plant, develop into the larval stage and adults fly in August and September. The adult lifespan of this butterfly is only about 10 days, in which they travel only about 50m.

The Mormon Metalmark prefers arid regions. It is often associated with unstable sandy or gravelly soils along hillsides, dunes and barren embankments. The thinly vegetated, southern slopes are conducive to growth of the Branched Umbrellaplant (Eriogonum pauciflorum) which is key feeding and egg hosting habitat for the Mormon Metalmark. In Saskatchewan this little butterfly will also likely use buckwheat (Polygonum convolvulus) and common rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa) as a secondary source of nectar.

The Species at Risk Act lists the prairie population of Mormon Metalmarks as a “threatened species”, which means that without intervention they may soon become threatened with extinction.

For more information on the species and classification click here