Nouvelle River Salt Marsh, Baie des Chaleurs, Gaspe Peninsula (Photo by NCC)

Nouvelle River Salt Marsh, Baie des Chaleurs, Gaspe Peninsula (Photo by NCC)

Baie des Chaleurs: Home to a very rare butterfly

Maritime ringlet (Photo by NCC)

Maritime ringlet (Photo by NCC)

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is protecting a three-hectare (seven-acre) property on the Baie des Chaleurs in the Gaspé Peninsula.

A butterfly found only in Baie des Chaleur

This natural environment is the home to a rare butterfly, the maritime ringlet. This endangered species is endemic to the Baie des Chaleurs, which means that it is only found in certain habitats around this bay in Quebec and New Brunswick.

Maritime ringlet is an inconspicuous butterfly, with fragile wings that are easily damaged by rain and wind. It is highly selective, laying its eggs on a host plant that is exclusive to the maritime: salt-meadow cord grass.

This butterfly’s habitat is, as a result, very specific, and is restricted and severely threatened by the encroachment of human activity.

The maritime ringlet population in the Nouvelle River salt marshes is the largest of the species.

Several at-risk species

In addition to maritime ringlet, the Nouvelle River salt marshes also host several at-risk bird species. Among them are short-eared owl, yellow rail, Barrow’s goldeneye and peregrine falcon, all of which are species of concern according to the Species at Risk Act.

This NCC property is also a nesting site for Nelson's sharp-tailed sparrow, a small passerine found only in North America and is at risk according to Quebec’s Act Respecting Threatened or Vulnerable Species.

Acknowledgements

The conservation of this property was made possible through financial support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program and the Fondation de la faune du Québec.

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