Euphyes vestris
Dun Skipper

Family Description:
Alternate Common Names:Dun Sedge Skipper, Sedge Witch.
Note: This species is also referred to as Euphyes ruricola by some authors.

The caterpillar is green with a silvery cast. The region behind the head is white and ringed with a thin black stripe. The cream-colored head is marked with a black spot in front and a brown stripe on each side.
Adult: This is a small to medium-sized skipper, with a wingspan of 1 to 1 3/8 inches. It is medium to dark brown on the upperside, while the head and thorax may be orangish. The male has a black stigma (patch of scent scales) on the forewing; the female may have several tiny whitish dots. Underneath is brown, with the interior of the wings sometimes darker where they attach to the body.

This species has a fairly extensive range, from the southeastern portion of Canada west to southeastern Alberta, south through the eastern half of the U.S. to central Texas. Isolated populations also occur along the Pacific coast, in the Rockies, and in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. In Idaho, it has only been documented in Idaho and Clearwater counties.

It can be found in moist, open areas, such as meadows, open woods, and along swamps and streams.

Caterpillars feed on the leaves of certain sedges including Carex and Cyperus species.

Adult: Butterflies drink nectar mostly from white, pink, and purple flowers.

Caterpillars live in nests of leaves and silk. Each year, there is only one generation of caterpillars in the northern part of its range, two in the middle and several in the south. Young caterpillars, those from the season’s last brood, overwinter in a physiological state called diapause. Adults generally fly from June to early August. Butterflies rest with their forewings held up while their hindwings lie flat.

Males perch to wait for receptive females. Females lay light green eggs singly on the leaves of host plants. The eggs change to a red color before hatching.

Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.
Global Rank: G5
populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.

Ferris, C. D. and F. M. Brown. (eds.) 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, USA, 442 pp.

Opler, P. A., H. Pavulaan, and R. E. Stanford. 1995. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, North Dakota, USA: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. (Version 05Nov98).

Opler, P. A. and A. B.Wright. 1999. A Field Guide to the Western Butterflies.    Second Edition.  Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York, USA, 540 pp.

Pyle, R. M. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, New York, USA, 924 pp.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA, 583 pp.

Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western U.S.A. Butterflies (Including Adjacent Parts of Canada and Mexico). Published by authors, Denver, Colorado, USA, 275 pp.