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Species Page - Oeneis chryxus caryi
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scientific name    Oeneis chryxus caryi    

common name     Cary's Arctic

Occurs in northeastern Alberta, in dry grassy areas, open pine woods, and woodland edges.

Adults peaking in June.

This mid-sized butterfly has a wingspan of 39 to 54 mm. Dorsal wing surface of this species has been described as bright orange, golden brown or tan and it lacks the dark wing borders found in other arctics. Forewing has two to four black eye spots. There are zero to two eyespots on the hindwing. Oeneis chryxus butterflies are brighter than other arctics in Alberta and have fewer eye-spots on the hindwing than Oeneis uhleri. The ventral hindwing has a more distinct white-edged medial band than O. c. chryxus. Eggs are not described. The tan larvae have reddish hairs. Along their back is a tan dorsal strip, as well as brownish and tan lateral stripes separated by white. They have a yellow-brown head that has six brown vertical stripes on top. Pupae are brown with darker patches and stripes, the top of the thorax and abdomen is light yellow brown with black spots and streaks (Guppy & Shepard, 2001).

life history
O. c. caryi butterflies are univoltine and overwinter as larvae (Guppy & Shepard, 2001). Females lay eggs on tree bark and twigs on or near the ground. Males perch to search for females that make short flights in the grassy area (Guppy & Shepard, 2001).

Rare; provincial rank S1/S2 and status is "Undetermined" because of small number of records.

diet info
Unknown for this species and subspecies in Alberta. In Colorado, O. chryxus larvae feed on sedges (Carex sp.) (Bird et al., 1995); in Washington, it is speculated that they feed on Fescue (Festuca idahoensis) (Bird et al., 1995); and, in captivity in Ontario they have fed on grasses and sedges, including Poverty Grass (Danthonia spicata) (Layberry et al., 1998).

This subspecies occurs in the boreal forest of Alberta, British Columbia, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories (Bird et al., 1995; Layberry et al., 1998).

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