Insects and spiders

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Insects and spiders in the Northwest Territories

Insects and spiders are an important part of the Northwest Territories (NWT) biodiversity and play important roles in our ecosystems. At least 9,000 species of insects are believed to occur in the NWT and about 268 species of spiders are known here. It is suspected more species of insects are moving north. The limited knowledge of these species in the NWT hurts our ability to know how they may change our ecosystems.


There are 110 species of bees in the NWT. The most widely recognizable species is the bumble bee, which has a furry body to help survive our cold climates. Another species is the honey bee. These bees, imported by a few honey producers, require constant attention to survive in our northern climate. Many native bees do not live in colonies. Mining bees make their homes underground. Others cut leaves to make a cigar-like nest in soil, tree snags or plant stems. See the Field Guide to Bumble Bees of the Northwest Territories for more information.


Butterflies are a common sight in many places around the NWT every summer. There are 92 species of butterflies known to occur in the NWT. For more information on butterflies in the NWT, see the Butterflies of the Northwest Territories booklet.


Dragonflies are a common sight in the Northwest Territories during the summer. See information on the status ranking and preliminary atlas of dragonflies found in the NWT.


There are 22 species of grasshoppers and three grasshopper relatives found in the NWT. Grasshoppers are important in the North because they have a big impact on plant communities and are a major source of food for other insects, mammals and birds. They are also useful in determining the health of our ecosystems. For more information on grasshoppers, see Grasshoppers and Related Insects of the Northwest Territories and Adjacent Regions.

Tiger beetles

Six species of tiger beetles are found in the Northwest Territories. See Tiger Beetles of the NWT for more information.


There are 268 species of spiders in the Northwest Territories. They are found on land and in the water. Spiders are another important indicator of the health of our ecosystems.