North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Iowa

Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus)
JPG -- species photo

Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus [Scudder & Burgess])

Wing span: 1 1/8 - 1 1/2 inches (2.9 - 3.8 cm).

Identification: Long labial palpi point forward; antennal clubs are pointed. Wings are black; forewing has no transparent spots but is dusted with gray scales and has bands of dark spots. Male has a costal fold containing yellow scent scales; female has a patch of scent scales on the 7th abdominal segment.

Life history: To seek females, males perch in openings, flats or depressions near woods. Females lay eggs singly on host plant leaves. Caterpillars feed on leaves and rest in leaf nests. Fully-grown caterpillars hibernate in leaf shelters.

Flight: One brood from April to early July; perhaps a rare second brood in the southern Appalachian Mountains.

Caterpillar hosts: Willows (Salix), poplars, aspens (Populus), and occasionally birch (Betula).

Adult food: Nectar from flowers of blueberry, wild strawberry, blackberry, Labrador tea, dogbane, New Jersey tea, winter cress, purple vetch, and lupine.

Habitat: Woodland openings or edges.

Range: Boreal North America from the Northwest Territories east across southern Canada to Nova Scotia; south in the western mountains to southern Arizona and southern New Mexico; south in the east to Arkansas, northeastern Alabama, and northern Georgia.

Conservation: Not usually required.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Management needs: None reported.


Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns 
     Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates.

Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson 
     field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, 
     Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.

Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies including 
     adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Denver and Fort Collins, CO. 

Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., 
     Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color 	plates.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

State and Regional References:

Nekola, Jeffrey C. 1995.  County Distribution Maps of Iowa Butterflies and 
     Skippers.  Dept. of Natural and Applied Sciences, Univ. of Wisconsin,
     Green Bay, WI.  30 pp.
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format.
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.     
Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus)
distribution map
map legend

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