Protecting and enhancing the natural values of Salt Spring Island and its surrounding waters


Common Woodnymph

Common Woodnymph

Cercyonis pegala incana [Red Listed] – Photo by James Miskelly

Range: The Common Woodnymph ranges across southern Canada from Pacific to Atlantic, south to the southern United States.  The local subspecies (subspecies incana) is restricted to south-western BC, western Washington, and north-western Oregon.

Wingspan: 5 cm

Habitat: open woodlands, meadows, forest edges

Host plant: unknown grasses

Lifecycle: Adults have been recorded from late June to mid-September, but most are seen in July and August. They visit flowers very little compared to other butterflies.  Eggs are laid in grassy areas, mostly late in the flight season.  As soon as the eggs hatch, the larvae become dormant without feeding.  Larvae begin feeding in spring.  They feed mostly at night, and spend the day hiding on the ground.  It is unknown which grasses are used as host plants in our area.  Pupation occurs by early summer and adults emerge after approximately one month.

Threats: succession of open woodlands to closed forest or shrub thickets.