Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Long Dash
Polites mystic (W.H. Edwards, 1863)


Family: Hesperiidae
Subfamily: Hesperiinae
Identification: Upperside is dark brown with reddish to yellowish orange markings. Forewing of female has a broad black patch at the base; male forewing has a long, slightly curved stigma which may be connected to the dash near the apex (creating a "long dash"). Underside of hindwing is orange-brown with a curved band of equal-sized yellow spots.
Wing Span: 1 1/8 - 1 1/2 inches (2.9 - 3.8 cm).
Life History: Males perch in low grassy spots, streambeds, or swales during most of the day; courtship occurs in mid- to late afternoon. Females deposit eggs singly on or near the host plant. Caterpillars feed on leaves and live in shelters of tied leaves. Fourth-stage caterpillars hibernate.
Flight: One brood from late May to early August.
Caterpillar Hosts: Bluegrasses (Poa species).
Adult Food: Nectar from flowers including common milkweed, selfheal, mountain laurel, and tick trefoil.
Habitat: Open, moist areas including meadows, marshes, streamsides, wood edges, and prairie swales.
Range: Southern British Columbia east to Nova Scotia; south to Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, northern Illinois, West Virginia, Virginia, and New Jersey.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
Comments: NULL