Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Mournful Duskywing
Erynnis tristis (Boisduval, 1852)


Family: Hesperiidae
Subfamily: Pyrginae
Identification: Male has a costal fold containing yellow scent scales; female has a patch of scent scales on the 7th abdominal segment. Upperside of wings is dark brown-black with some transparent spots. Spots are larger in the female. Underside of hindwing is dark brown with a row of long white spots near the margin.
Wing Span: 1 1/4 - 1 15/16 inches (3.2 - 4.9 cm).
Life History: Males perch on hilltops all day to watch for females. Eggs are laid singly on new growth of the host plant. Caterpillars feed on young leaves and rest in shelters of rolled or tied leaves. Caterpillars of the last brood hibernate.
Flight: Three broods in Texas from March-April, June-July, and September-November.
Caterpillar Hosts: Various oaks including coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia), blue oak (Q. douglasii), and valley oak (Q. lobata).
Adult Food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Oak woodlands.
Range: Northern California south through central Arizona, southern New Mexico, the mountains of Mexico, and Central America to Colombia. Strays to South Texas.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
Comments: NULL

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