Erynnis brizo lacustra

A narrow endemic in our fauna, restricted to serpentine soils in both the Coast Range and Sierra Nevada foothills, where its only known host plant in the North State, Leather Oak (Serpentine Scrub Oak), Quercus durata, occurs. Its southernmost population in our area is at Meadowbrook, near Georgetown. Farther south in both ranges it is not confined to serpentine and seems to use several shrubby oaks as hosts, but never in our area.

Erynnis funeralis

This species ranges from the San Joaquin Valley to central Argentina and Chile. In most places its host plant is cultivated Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)! It is only an accidental or stray species in our area. It can be told from the Mournful Dusky-Wing, E. tristis - which is common and resident - by its rather long, narrow, pointed forewing, often with a coppery-reddish cast. The shape of the forewing makes the hindwing look very broad. Multiple broods.

Erynnis icelus

Uncommon and rather poorly-known in California, this is a species of cool, moist forest - often seen along muddy streamsides, sitting with wings fully expanded. It ranges from the upper foothills to mid-elevation (roughly 1500 to 6000' at the latitude of I-80). The only other small Dusky-Wing with a "chain-dotted" forewing pattern is the larger, serpentine-endemic Sleepy Dusky-Wing, E. brizo lacustra. Note the squarish, "cut-off" forewing shape of E. icelus!

Erynnis pacuvius

An uncommon species found in both the Coast Range and Sierra Nevada, mostly in chaparral and along roads in mesic forest where it often puddles. Confusingly similar to the Persius Duskywing but always single-brooded, and usually identifiable by habitat and plant association. It has a gloss or lustre usually missing in the "matte" persius and lacks a white dot at the end of the forewing cell above. In fact, it is very dark. Late spring-early summer; host plants various species of Ceanothus; the reasons for its scarcity are unknown.

Erynnis persius

Locally common in a wide variety of habitats from sea level (including the Central Valley) to 7000',but rarely seen on the East slope. Many of its colonies are transient, especially at low elevation where its hosts are often annuals.It often disappears from an area for years on end, then reappears suddenly. It has, however, been a long-term permanent resident at Lang Crossing. This is the only small Dusky-Wing with multiple broods--three at 5000'. This in itself is a valuable aid to identification.

Erynnis propertius

Our commonest and most widespread Erynnis, easily recognized in our area by its large size, brown hindwing fringe, and two light spots near the outer angle of the hindwing beneath. It occurs from sea level to 9000', though the individuals seen above 7000' seem to be hilltopping fly-ups and there is no evidence of breeding up there (in fact, there are often no hosts). An avid puddler, often in large numbers, it occurs in woodlands and forests but is very nearly gone from the Central Valley.

Erynnis tristis

Common below 2000', including the Sacramento Valley; the only Erynnis routinely found in cities. A strong flier but not a very dedicated puddler, it is multiple-brooded, from March to October. This is the only common Dusky-Wing with a white fringe (compare E. funeralis).