Long Dash (Polites mystic [W. H. Edwards])
Wing span: 1 1/8 - 1 1/2 inches (2.9 - 3.8 cm).
Identification: Upperside is dark brown with reddish to yellowish orange markings. Forewing of female has a broad black patch at the base; male forewing has a long, slightly curved stigma which may be connected to the dash near the apex (creating a "long dash"). Underside of hindwing is orange-brown with a curved band of equal-sized yellow spots.
Life history: Males perch in low grassy spots, streambeds, or swales during most of the day; courtship occurs in mid- to late afternoon. Females deposit eggs singly on or near the host plant. Caterpillars feed on leaves and live in shelters of tied leaves. Fourth-stage caterpillars hibernate.
Flight: One brood from late May to early August.
Caterpillar hosts: Bluegrasses (Poa species).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers including common milkweed, selfheal, mountain laurel, and tick trefoil.
Habitat: Open, moist areas including meadows, marshes, streamsides, wood edges, and prairie swales.
Range: Southern British Columbia east to Nova Scotia; south to Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, northern Illinois, West Virginia, Virginia, and New Jersey.
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