|scientific name Oeneis melissa |
common name Melissa Arctic
Rocky alpine tundra and scree slopes above treeline.
One brood per year, flying mostly from mid July to early August.
The upperside is charcoal-slate and unmarked. The underside is finely mottled with grey and black, the median band is not usually discernible. No eyespots.
Subspecies beanii, described from Lake Louise, occurs in the Alberta mountains.
Not known in Alberta. In New Hampshire, the grey-white eggs are laid on or near the host, and larvae vary from brown-green to reddish brown with a number of longitudinal lines, and take two years to mature. Pupation takes place under moss or stones (Scott 1986). Melissa Arctics fly every year in Alberta.
Males patrol rock fields and ridge tops, while females are usually found at slightly lower elevations (Bird et al 1995). This Arctic is wary and difficult to approach, males are easily flushed and often move downslope before alighting again, where the underside blends perfectly with rocks and lichens.
Not of concern.
Larval hosts are unconfirmed in Alberta. Carex rupestris is used in MB and NWT (Parshall in Scott 1986). Adults rarely nectar.
Alaska to Labrador and Quebec, south to northern MT and WA, isolated populations in the Rocky Mountain States and New Hampshire (Scott 1986).
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