Government of New Brunswick


  • A salt marsh critter – the adult only lives one week!


The Maritime ringlet is a small salt marsh butterfly. It has a wing span of four centimetres and is beige in color, with an eyespot on the underside of its front wings. The adults or butterflies are visible from three to four weeks from mid-July to mid-August, depending on weather conditions. The adult lives for only a week, during which time the male butterfly must find a partner for reproduction. Like other butterflies, the Maritime ringlet has four stages in its life cycle: egg, caterpillar, pupa and butterfly. The female deposits the eggs on dead blades of salt meadow grass, which is the larval host plant. The caterpillar continues to grow and molt during the summer and fall, and then buries itself in the ground litter just before winter. The following spring, the caterpillar reemerges and continues to feed until it is ready to make a cocoon and pupate. This stage takes 10 days, after which the adult butterfly emerges for the short reproduction period.




The Maritime ringlet lives its four life stages entirely within salt marshes, where its habitat is influenced by flooding during high tides. It is concentrated in areas where there is more of its host plant, salt meadow grass, as well as nectar sources for the adult, mainly sea lavender. It occasionally feeds on other plants – such as seaside goldenrod – associated with its habitat,. Coastal stewardship, such as protecting salt marshes and maintaining septic systems in good condition is an effective approach to conserving this species.




The Maritime ringlet is endemic to the Bay of Chaleur region. This means that the world wide distribution of this butterfly is limited to this area.