Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Butterfly of the Week: Dun Skipper

Dun Skipper

Euphyes vestris (Boisduval 1852)

Status: Common breeding resident.

Flight: Adults observed in flight from late May through late September, with most encounters occurring in the first half of July. While this species likely has multiple broods, collection records do not clearly indicate when these might occur. Perhaps there is only a single brood, which emerges over an extended period in the summer.

Distinguishing features: This is a uniformly dark brown skipper. Males have a black stigma, and females have few white spots on the upper fore wing. Females often have a faint crescent of light brown spots on the mid hind wing below. It differs from the Little Glassywing and Northern Broken dash by having reduced light markings (if any) on the upper fore wing. Wingspan: 3 cm.

Distribution and habitat: Map 219. Common throughout the state in a wide variety of open habitats.

Natural history: The larval hosts are unreported but are believed to be various members of the sedge family.

Questions: What are the larval hosts for this species in Iowa? How does it overwinter? What factors have allowed it to become the most abundant member of its genus in the state? 

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