Erynnis martialis (Scudder, )
NatureServe Global Rank: G3
Virginia State Rank: S1S3
VA DGIF Tier: III
Federal Legal Status: None
Virginia Legal Status: None
Description: The Mottled Duskywing is known for its 'showy' appearance and is a popular photography subject. It is a fairly small species with a bold pattern on its brown wings. The first brood is darker in coloration than the second brood with both sexes having similar appearance. The forewing has black patches and white markings that give it a mottled appearance. There is a small silvery patch along the leading edge of the front wing. The hind wing is mottled as well, but to a lesser extent. Fresh specimens have a violet sheen to the wings.
Similar species: The Mottled Duskywing is similar to the other Duskywing species but stands out by the combination of the smaller size and higher contrast mottling of wing patterns. It is more easily confused with the females of those species, especially Horace's Duskywing. Its smaller size differentiates it from Horace's (E. horatius), Juvenal's (E. juvenalis) and Zarucco (E. zarucco) Duskywings, and the obviously mottled hind wing is somewhat distinctive for the Mottled Duskywing.
North American Range: This species has a rather large range, extending from the Northeast to the Southeast and West towards the Rocky Mountains. It seems to be extirpated from much of its former range in the Northeast.
VA Observations by Locality: Alleghany | Augusta | Bedford | Fairfax | Fauquier | Giles | Henrico | Highland | Loudoun | Montgomery | Page | Prince Edward | Prince William | Roanoke | Russell | Warren | Wythe | Alleghany | Augusta | Bath | Chesapeake, City of | Greensville | Montgomery | Prince William | Tazewell | Halifax
Flight season and broods: This species commonly has two broods from April through September throughout range.
Habitat and Food Plants: The Mottled Duskywing favors open woods, barrens, sand hills, and brushy fields. Its host plant of choice resides in the Rhamnaceae (Buckthorn) family. In Virginia, this would most likely be New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus).
Behavior and Ecology: Males will patrol for females and wait on hilltops for potential mates, often perching near or on the ground. Mature caterpillars overwinter. Adults have been known to feed at damp earth and decaying matter as well as certain nectar flowers but choose habitat based on host plant existence.
Population trend and potential threats: There is speculation that early control of Gypsy moths involving spraying may have damaged populations in five East coast states. Otherwise, population has remained secure in most states. However, since they occupy niche habitats, it is important they are maintained.
Management practices: None usually employed.
References: Allen, T. J. 1997. The Butterflies of West Virginia and their Caterpillars. University of Pittsburg Press. 388pp.
Cech, R. and G. Tudor. 2005. Butterflies of the East Coast. Pg. 250. Princeton University Press.
Glassberg, J. 1999. A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Eastern North America. Pg. 51. Oxford University Press.
Opler, P. A. 1992. A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies. Peterson Field Guides
Pyle, R. M. 1981. Field Guide to North American Butterflies. National Audubon Society.
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, 600 E. Main St., 24th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219
This atlas was compiled
by the VA Natural Heritage Program with funds provided by the VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries through a state wildlife grant
from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Last Modified: Tuesday, 24 January 2017, 10:12:03 PM