The net to catch butterfly data just got bigger.
Biologists from Canada and the U.S. on Monday launched an online butterfly tracking tool, e-Butterfly.org. The website aggregates crowd-sourced information gathered across North America into its free website.
"It's one-stop shopping for both recreational butterfly watchers and scientists," said Kent McFarland, a conservation biologist at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, who worked on the project.
The tool can be used for casual butterfly watching, but researchers also can use the mapping tool to study the early warnings of habitat degradation and the impacts of climate change.
University of Ottawa postdoctoral fellow Maxim Larrivée, now an entomologist at the Montreal Insectarium, and lab biologist Jeremy Kerr teamed up to develop the first iteration of the online database.
The website was relaunched Monday to cover the U.S. with the help of Oregon State University and other scientists.