E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Erynnis propertius Schrank, 1801
Duskywings; Propertius Duskywing
Family: Hesperiidae (Skippers)
Species account authors: Crispin Guppy and Jon Shepard.
Extracted from Butterflies of British Columbia
The Families of Lepidoptera of BC
Introduction to the Butterflies of BC

Photo of species

© Norbert Kondla  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #8212)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Erynnis propertius in British Columbia
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Species Information

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Illustration Source: Butterflies of British Columbia by Crispin Guppy and Jon Shepard © Royal BC Museum


This is the largest species of Erynnis in BC, with a forewing length of 1.8-2.1 cm, and it generally flies in close association with Garry oak. It is best, however, to examine the male genitalia to ensure proper identification. The ventral process of the left valve is extremely long; the middle lobe is elongated and strongly curved towards the ventral process. The sexes are dimorphic, with the female wings being lighter. In particular the spots of the post-median row of both wings are larger in the female. The male possesses the costal fold characteristic of the genus.

Immature Stages

Hardy (1958b) described the immature stages of the Vancouver Island populations in detail from larvae collected on the foodplant. The mature larval head is flesh-coloured with orange spots on each side and covered with fine hair. The body is sage green with pale yellow subdorsal lines and pale yellow intersegmental rings. The spiracles are white.


None. The type locality of the species is California.

Genus Description

The name Erynnis is derived from the Erinnyes or Furies who harried wrongdoers (Emmet 1991). Schrank used the generic name for all skippers, and used it to describe the erratic flight characteristic of skippers, as though they were avoiding the Furies. The Erinnyes sprang from the dark, thus the common name "duskywings" in reference to the dark wings. Scudder (1889b) was the first to use the name "duskywings" for the genus.

This and the remaining genera of the Pyrginae have rounded forewing tips, short discal cells, inconspicuous antennal tips, and porrect palpi. The genus Erynnis is distinguished by the mottled black background of the wings, hence the common name "duskywings". This Holarctic genus contains 17 Nearctic and 5 Palearctic species. Five species are found in BC. Closely related genera are all Neotropical. The larvae of this genus have been recorded as feeding on Quercus, Salix, Populus, Ceanothus, and Fabaceae. The various BC species cover this wide range of foodplant preferences, but individual species are restricted to one or a few closely related foodplants. Burns (1964) wrote the definitive work on the genus. Reference to Lindsey et al. (1931) is necessary for drawings of male genitalia, the only reliable structures for distinguishing most species. The shape of the left valve is the critical characteristic.


Adults are on the wing from late April to early July, with a single record from 27 July and peak flight occurring in early June. A second instar larva was collected on 29 June (Hardy 1958b). The larva matured by late August and over-wintered in a nest of foodplant leaves. In spring it spun a light cocoon, pupated on 29 April, and emerged as an adult on 28 May. The species is univoltine, with an occasional possible second-brood specimen. In BC the foodplant is Garry oak (Quercus garryana). Besides Hardy's observations, there are two records from the Forest Insect Survey, also on Garry oak. In California, it has been reared from Quercus agrifolia (Burns 1964).


In BC E. propertius has historically been collected only on the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island and the adjacent Gulf Islands where Garry oak is known to occur. There is a single record from the 1930s of the species at the disjunct Garry oak population on Sumas Mountain, and numerous specimens from "Vedder Crossing," presumably the Sumas Mountain site. There are three records of the species from Lower Mainland localities, where botanists have so far not recorded Garry oak (Ross Lake, Hope, and 24 km north of Mt. Currie). Until either Garry oak can be found in these areas or an alternative foodplant can be shown for E. propertius, these specimens must be considered strays. All of the disjunct specimens were recorded late in the flight period, indicating that they were strays. Both Garry oak as the larval foodplant and nectar sources to sustain the long adult flight are equally important for maintaining the species. In addition, leaf litter must be left at the base of horticultural trees to protect the larvae during hibernation.



The species is found along the entire Pacific coast of North America from southern Vancouver Island to northern Baja California, in association with oak species.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS2RedNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2024-07-20 4:54:19 AM]
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