Alberta Arctic (Oeneis alberta Elwes)
Wing span: 1 3/8 - 2 1/4 inches (3.5 - 5.7 cm).
Identification: Upperside is light yellow-gray. Underside is light brown; forewing has a postmedian line bent sharply at the end of the cell; hindwing has a sharp-edged dark median band.
Life history: Males perch and patrol all day on bunchgrass-covered slopes. Caterpillars probably hibernate in their fourth stage.
Flight: One brood from May-June.
Caterpillar hosts: Bunchgrass, possibly Festuca.
Adult food: Not reported.
Habitat: Virgin prairie, dry bunchgrass hills.
Range: Canadian prairie provinces east to southern Manitoba. Isolated populations along the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.
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 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. 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:
Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown. 1980. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. University of Oklahoma Press. Norman. Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo. Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Add Toliver, M., Holland, R., and S.J. Cary. 1996. Distributional data for New Mexico Butterflies. Privately published. Albuquerque, N.M.