Butterflies symbolize the short-lived but intense joys of the Canadian summer better than any other creature. Four new stamps depicting Canadian butterflies are being issued in conjunction with the XVIII International Congress of Entomology being held in Vancouver, British Columbia from 3 to 9 July 1988. There are over 20,000 known species of the butterfly of which 272 exist in Canada. Canadian varieties have wing spans from less than 2.5 cm to 7.5 cm. Life cycles range from a few week to two years and involve a complete metamorphosis through the egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and adult stages. Macoun's Arctic (Oeneis macounii) dwells mainly in the boreal forest zone of central Canada but extends into northern Michigan and Minnesota. It was named after John Macoun, the prominent Canadian botanist. On these stamps, designed by well-known Toronto graphic artist Heather Cooper, the butterflies come alive against a subdued background suggestive of the type of vegetation inhabited by each species. This illustrative approach is typical of Cooper's work, recognized for having a magic element - a kind of "fantasy realism".
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