Euphyes conspicua (Edwards, 1863)
NatureServe Global Rank: G4
Virginia State Rank: SH
VA DGIF Tier: IV
Federal Legal Status: None
Virginia Legal Status: None
Description: The Black Dash is sexually dimorphic when viewing their dorsal sides. The males have a large but variable patch of orange on the front wing that begins at the base of the wing and runs along the leading edge (especially), about 2/3 of the length of the wing. A black stigma transverses the orange patch. The outside borders of the wing are brown. The female has a variably marked line of spots that begin at the wrist bracelet markings and bisect the wing towards the back edge. Both sexes have mostly brown dorsal hind wings with some small orange dash markings. The Ventral of both genders is orangey-brown with a 'stack' of dash markings about 3/5 the distance from the base of the wing.
Similar species: The Black Dash is very similar to other Euphyes species based upon the dorsal markings. The ventral hind wing markings of the stack of dashes is much more diagnostic for this species, ruling out the other Euphyes. It is vaguely similar to a number of other skipper species with these markings. Most other species that display the 'stacked' markings on the ventral hind wing display more sharply defined markings that are usually larger and more squared off (like blocks) in appearance, rather than the dashes displayed by the Black Dash. It may most often be confused with the Southern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia otho)which is usually noticeably smaller. The Southern Broken-Dash has similar dashed markings on the ventral hind wing but they line up to display a '3' as opposed to being aligned like the Black Dash.
North American Range: Found predominantly in the Northeast from Maine to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and the Great Lakes region. An isolated population exists in Southeast Virginia.
VA Observations by Locality: Giles | Suffolk, City of | Giles
Flight season and broods: The Black Dash Skippers only has one brood and a rather short flight season of June to August.
Habitat and Food Plants: The Black Dash favors wetland habitats that include bogs, marshes, streams, and meadows. The Black Dash, like most members of the genus Euphyes favor plants in the Sedge family, especially narrow-leaved sedges. Tussock Sedge (Carex stricta) is most often associated with it. These plants are found in moist areas like marshes, bogs and stream edges.
Behavior and Ecology: This is a favorite of photographers due to the fact that it tends to stay still longer than most skipper species. Males perch on low foliage to wait for bypassing females. Similar to other Skippers, they may engage in aerial dogfights with other individuals of the same and other species.
Population trend and potential threats: The isolated populations in Virginia should be regularly monitored as it is disjunctive from the main range.
Management practices: There are no recommended management practices for this species at this time.
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. 292. Princeton University Press.
Glassberg, J. 1999. A Field Guide to Butterflies of Eastern North America. Pg. 66. 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