Species at Risk

Frosted Elfin

Frosted Elfin (Callophrys irus ssp. Incisalia)

Status in Canada: Extirpated

Status in Ontario: Extirpated

Status at SWCR: Extirpated

It gets it’s frosted appearance from a scattering of pale coloured scales on the underside of its wings. The SWCR was home to the last Ontario population, and our efforts are now focused on restoring habitat in the hopes that it can someday return.

Quick Facts:

  • The Canadian population is considered extirpated: In Ontario, it was found only at the SWCR, and was last recorded here in 1988.
  • This subspecies feeds exclusively on wild lupine (Lupinus perennis).
  • It used habitats with well-drained sandy soils and open to semi-shaded woody canopy cover, such as: remnant oak savannas, prairies, sand barrens, road right-of-ways, areas under power lines and openings in woodlands

Threats at the St. Williams Conservation Reserve:

Habitat loss/Degradation: Frosted Elfin feed exclusively on wild lupine, which has been disappearing form the landscape due to natural succession, suppression of fire, herbicide use, and development.

Activities that can damage critical Frosted Elfin habitat include:

  1. Activities that can introduce or encourage the growth of invasive plants, such as dumping of garden waste and off-trail ATV use.
  2. Activities that interfere with understory shrubs, unauthorized plant collecting and off-trail ATV-use.
  3. Off-trail recreational activities that can trample plants, or remove them from their habitat, such as trampling, crushing under vehicles, and collecting.

St. Williams Conservation Reserve management practices:

  • Forest thinning activities
  • Invasive plant control
  • Enforcement of unauthorized trail use
  • Prescribed burns

What you can do to help:

  • Follow the  code of conduct for recreational activities in the Conservation Reserve and know and respect the current trail-use regulations.
  • Clean your boots, bicycle tires, or ATV before and after visiting the SWCR or other natural areas to avoid spreading invasive plant seeds.
  • Report unauthorized trail use or any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).

More information:

Species At Risk Public Registry Profile

Ontario Species at Risk Profile

Funding for this project was provided through the Species At Risk Stewardship Fund