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


Dun Skipper

Euphyes vestris [Red Listed, Threatened] 

Range: There are two separate populations.  One is found from east of the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic coast.  The local population is much rarer and occurs from southwestern BC to California.

Wingspan: 2.5 – 3 cm

Habitat: wetlands, ditches, disturbed areas

Lifecycle: Adults are on the wing from late May to early August, with most observations coming from June and July.  They nectar on a variety of flowers, including Selfheal and Spreading Dogbane.  The larval hostplants believed to be sedges, though which species are used locally is unknown.  Eggs hatch soon after laying, and larvae construct shelters by tying sedge blades together with silk.  After a period of feeding and growing, they become dormant inside silk chambers lined with wax.  These are thought to protect the larvae from winter flooding.  Larvae resume feeding in spring, pupate in late spring or early summer, and emerge as adults a few weeks later.

Threats: draining and filling of wetlands; culverting of streams and ditches.