|scientific name Erynnis icelus |
common name Dreamy Duskywing
Widespread in clearings and meadows and woodlands near aspen woods.
One brood annually, peak flight activity from late May to early June.
The duskywing skippers (genus Erynnis) can be a challenge to identify, particularly in prairie habitat where all three species may occur together. The Dreamy Duskywing can be separated from the other two species by the white spot near the forewing tip: icelus has either only one spot or none at all, while the other two duskywings (E. afranius and E. persius) have at least two (more often three or four) spots. The Dreamy Duskywing is also slightly smaller on average, with a wingspan of 25 to 30 mm. the forewing apex is more blunt in shape, giving icelus a more squared-off appearance than the other two duskywings.
Freshly laid eggs are green, and turn pink upon aging (Bird et al. 1995). Larvae are stout and tapered at both ends, and pale green with whitish dots. There is a dark dorsal and pale lateral stripe (McCabe & Post 1977). The caterpillar constructs a nest out of the host plant leaves (Layberry et al. 1998).
No conservation concerns.
The larval host plant has not been recorded in Alberta, but likely includes one or more of the following Willows (Salix spp.), poplars (Populus spp.) and Birch (Betula spp.) (Layberry et al.1998). Adults feed at legume blossoms (Hooper 1973) and take moisture at damp soils (Nielsen 1999).
Most of temperate North America, from the Mackenzie River valley, NWT south to Arizona / New Mexico and Georgia, but absent from much of the Great Plains states (Layberry et al. 1998, Opler 1999).
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