Horace’s Duskywing

Duskywing skipper butterflies (genus Erynnis) are generally light brown to black with light spots on the wings, and the group is notoriously difficult to tell apart. I am reasonably certain, after having compared images from each of the “juvenalis group” of extremely similar “little brown butterflies” on bugguide.net, that this is a Horace’s duskywing, Erynnis horatius, but I could be wrong.

Unlike most skippers, duskywings preferentially land on the ground, rather than on plants (or so I am told). They have a characteristic pose when landing on a large object, where they hold their wings straight out, below the horizontal, appearing to press themselves firmly against the surface. This behavior can identify the genus at a distance.

I identified this individual as E. horatius based on the presence of a white band around the eyes, and based on range data from butterfliesandmoths.org, which indicates that E. horatius is the most common of the duskywings in my state. Based on the low-contrast brown coloration, with no white overscaling, and the fold on the front margin of the forewings, it’s probably a male.

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