Using the Table: TEA Checklist of Ontario Moths

What's Here

Last updated March 5, 2021.

This table lists all moth species recorded in Ontario as of the date at the top of the table. New species will be added, and probably some will be deleted, as new information emerges. Subspecies are not considered since most information sources are at the species level and, in iNaturalist, a request to display the records for a species will display the records of all subspecies.

The table also provides other information for each species, drawn from various web-based databases. Since species names can vary across databases, Hodges and P3 numbers have been used to make the connections.

To download the table as an Excel spreadsheet, click here.

For each species, the table provides (where available):

Note 1. We consider a species to be "hard to identify" if less than 1/6 of its observations on iNaturalist are classified as research grade and it has at least 5 observations in total. About 1 out of every 25 species is in this category. For comparison, 2/3 of all observations on iNaturalist are classified as research grade.

Note 2. Macromoths, which are the larger moths such as noctuids, geometrids, sphingids, etc., account for 45% of all Ontario moth species. We define macromoths as species with a P3 number of 83 0001 or greater; all other species are micromoths (following Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Southeastern North America by Seabrooke Leckie and David Beadle [Houghton Mifflin, 2018]).

Note 3. You may find that the iNaturalist page displayed from this link includes, in the information to the right of the picture of the moth, observations for the entire world. To see just information on Ontario observations, you can "Filter by Place." But if you would prefer to have this happen automatically, change your iNaturalist settings as follows: (1) At the top right of the page, click on your picture; (2) choose "Account Settings"; (3) choose "Account"; (4) under "Default Search Place," choose "Ontario, CA"; and (5) click "Save Settings." This will not affect the map -- it will still show all observations, inside and outside Ontario.

Note 4. For MPG pages, take the dots on the map as only a general indication of the range -- the data is not reliable at this time. There are two problems: (a) the dots have no data to back them up (such as where the specimen or photo supporting the dot can be found), so there is no way to verify their accuracy; and (b) some dots for which the only information is the province or state have simply been put in that jurisdiction's geographic centre, making the location close to meaningless. MPG is in the process of fixing these problems.

Note 5. P3 numbers are from Annotated Taxonomic Checklist of the Lepidoptera of North America, North of Mexico, by Pohl, G.R., Patterson, B., & Pelham, J.P. (working paper, 2016).

Using the Table

People seeking access to actual observations around the province for a particular species should click on its iNaturalist link. To obtain general species information, or additional photos and help to identify one's own observations, look up the indicated page in the Field Guide or click on the MG, BG, PNW and UoA links.

The table opens in P3 order (which is generally in ascending order of P3 numbers). To restore that order after sorting, click the refresh button on your browser. Clicking on any of the column headings will cause the table currently being displayed to be sorted by that column. Clicking again will reverse the order of the sort of that column. If anything is typed in the search box, the sort will operate on only the group of species currently being displayed. Thus, clicking on "#RG" while "Sphingidae" is typed in the search box will sort sphinx-moth species by the number of research-grade observations, from smallest to largest; clicking again will show the same group of species, but ordered with the species with the largest number of research-grade observations appearing first.

The search box operates on all components of the table and is not case-sensitive. Thus, for example:


The list of species has been provided by David Beadle, Mike King and Phill Holder, and is an update of the list included in their 2020 publication Ontario Moths: A Checklist (Hawk Owl Publishing, Newcastle, ON). That list, in turn, is an update of the Pohl et al. (2018) Ontario list cited above. The computer work was done by Alan Macnaughton in collaboration with Chris Cheatle, Ross Dickson and Bev Edwards. A similar list maintained by Ken Sproule for the High Park Moth Study Group was the inspiration for this effort. To cite the study in publications or other research, use the following: David Beadle and Alan Macnaughton, TEA Checklist of Ontario Moths (Supply date accessed here). For comments, questions or corrections, contact Alan.

Other Resources

The iNaturalist project Moths of Ontario, organized by David Kaposi, is worth joining as it helps you to connect with other people with a special interest in Ontario moths.

The TEA's Ontario Moth Atlas provides maps of 250 of the best-known Ontario macromoth species by 10K square, county, park, etc. Graphs of flight seasons are shown for any of these geographic units. The data includes 60,000 records drawn from iNaturalist and other sources.

The Moth Photographers Group provides a helpful introduction to moth families. Each family is illustrated with photos of sample species for you to identify. Clicking on the photo allows you to check your ID against the correct answer.