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Species Page - Oeneis melissa
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scientific name    Oeneis melissa    

common name     Melissa Arctic

habitat
Rocky alpine tundra and scree slopes above treeline.

seasonality
One brood per year, flying mostly from mid July to early August.

identification
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.

life history
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.

conservation
Not of concern.

diet info
Larval hosts are unconfirmed in Alberta. Carex rupestris is used in MB and NWT (Parshall in Scott 1986). Adults rarely nectar.

range
Alaska to Labrador and Quebec, south to northern MT and WA, isolated populations in the Rocky Mountain States and New Hampshire (Scott 1986).

quick link
http://entomology.museums.ualberta.ca/searching_species_details.php?s=2859



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References (3)
Specimen Info
There are 6 specimens of this species in the online database
Map Distribution
Adult Seasonal Distributioncreate a collection histogram with specimens
Specimen List (6)

 

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