How long until Québec has an official emblem insect?

White admiral (Limenitis arthemis)
Credit: Insectarium de Montréal / Maxim Larrivée
White admiral (Limenitis arthemis)
  • White admiral (Limenitis arthemis)
  • White admiral (Limenitis arthemis)
  • White admiral (Limenitis arthemis)
How long until Québec has an official emblem insect?

Emblems play a crucial role in representing ideas, concepts – even people – by way of symbols. They bolster the sense of belonging to a group and also serve as effective awareness-raising tools.

Québec currently has three official emblems. The best known is certainly the iris versicolor, adopted as a floral emblem in 1999. Add to this the snowy owl, an avian emblem, and the yellow birch, adopted as the emblematic tree. But what about an entomological emblem? Is there an insect that represents Québec?

A bit of history...

In the 1990s, a committee was created to find an emblem insect for Québec. It was made up of six biologists affiliated with different organizations, one of those being the Insectarium. The mission of the committee members was to find candidates from among the roughly 20,000 insect species in Québec. To be eligible, the insects had to be present and common in a good part of the province, in addition to being easily identifiable.

A list of candidates was proposed by the committee in 1996: the common eastern bumble bee, the six-spotted cicindela, the twelve-spotted lady beetle, the ebony jewelwing and the white admiral. A popular vote was organized by the Insectarium in partnership with the Société d’entomologie du Québec, the Association des entomologistes amateurs du Québec, Entomofaune du Québec, the Amis de l’Insectarium and Ville de Montréal. Of the five candidates, it was the white admiral that emerged on top, with close to one-third of the 230,000 votes.

An (almost official!) emblem insect

It may seem surprising, but more than 25 years farther along, Québec still doesn’t have an official emblem insect. You have to remember that, in this province, emblems are regulated under the Act respecting the flag and emblems of Québec. For an emblem to be added, in other words, a legislative amendment becomes necessary. A bill to that end was tabled in 2017, followed by another in 2021. Alas – both died on the order paper.

To continue to keep the public aware of the white admiral, a first “Blitz Amiral” was organized in 2021 by the Société d’entomologie du Québec. The event, which takes place over a week around June 24, the day of Québec’s national holiday, consists in making as many observations as possible of the admiral, and then sharing them with the community-science platform iNaturalist. While waiting for the adoption of a bill, we can at least tell ourselves that the admiral is our…unofficial emblem!

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2 Comment(s)
Lyly's picture

The election of the white flag as the insect symbol for Quebec, while not yet officially recognized, demonstrates community solidarity Pokerogue and pride, while emphasizing the importance of conservation and awareness of diversity. biological form.

Southgate's picture

The article successfully exposes unnecessary bureaucracy holding back a popular choice. Perhaps streamlining the legislative hurdles or relaunching a public awareness Buildnow GG campaign could help finally grant the White Admiral its official status.

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