Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

  Sighting 1268414

Melissa Arctic
Oeneis melissa

Observation date: July 16, 2020
Submitted by: ASchmierer
Specimen type: Photograph
Observation notes: Clear with light breeze. Temp 45-55 degrees. Approx 12100 ft rocky meadow with patches of grass and flowers. This butterfly has far less markings than other chryxus that I have seen, which made me question the ID.
Status: Resident
Verified by: mikefisher
Verified date: November 17, 2020
Coordinator notes: This is the Melissa Arctic. It is the most common high altitude arctic species and likes rocky summits. This was the "on year" for Oeneis chyrxus but roughly below 10,000 ft. It is biennial flying only in even years (very rarely in an odd numbered year). Above 10,000 ft. there is another arctic that looks much like chryxus but is darker - the Calais Arctic (not listed on the BAMONA website). You should be able to easily compare your Melissa Arctic with a photo of chryxus on the BAMONA site. Mike
Checklist region(s): United States, Colorado, Larimer County