North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Iowa

Columbine Duskywing (Erynnis lucilius)
JPG -- species photo

Columbine Duskywing (Erynnis lucilius [Scudder & Burgess])

Wing span: 1 3/16 - 1 5/8 inches (3 - 4.2 cm).

Identification: Upperside is dark brown; brown patch at end of forewing cell is indistinct. Underside of hindwing has marginal and submarginal rows of well-defined pale spots. Male has a costal fold containing yellow scent scales; female has a patch of scent scales on the 7th abdominal segment.

Life history: Females deposit eggs singly under leaves of the host plant. Caterpillars feed on leaves and rest in shelters of leaves. Fully-grown caterpillars from the second brood hibernate.

Flight: Two broods from April-September.

Caterpillar hosts: Wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and sometimes garden columbine (A. vulgaris) in the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Rocky deciduous or mixed woodland and edges, especially in ravines or gullies.

Range: Southern Quebec and southern New England west to Minnesota; south to New Jersey and Pennsylvania; south along the Appalachians to Virginia and Kentucky.

Comments: The Columbine, Wild Indigo, and Persius dusky wings belong to the "Persius complex," a confusing group of very similar butterflies.

Conservation: Not usually required.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might 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.

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.     
Columbine Duskywing (Erynnis lucilius)
distribution map
map legend

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