Friday, May 25, 2012

Butterfly of the Week

Dreamy Duskywing

Erynnis icelus (Scudder and Burgess 1870)
Status: Very rare breeding resident.
Flight: A single flight from late April to mid May.
Distinguishing features: Unlike most Duskywings in Iowa, the Dreamy Duskywing lacks clear spots on the fore wing. In this respect it is similar to the Sleepy Duskywing, but it is smaller and has less distinct and more jagged dark bars on the upper fore wing. Wingspan: 3-3.6 cm.
Distribution and habitat: Map 85. Very uncommon in Iowa, with only one authenticated record from black oak sand savanna in the far northeastern corner of the state. The specimen reported from Ledges State Park in Boone County likely represents a misidentified E. brizo.
Natural history: Very little is known about the behavior and activities of this species in the state. In northern Wisconsin it favors scrubby lowlands with willows and can become rather frequent. Its larvae are reported to eat willows and poplars.
Questions: Are populations of this species stable within the state, or do they undergo frequent colonizations and extirpations? What are the preferred larval hosts?

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