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


Propertius Duskywing

Propertius Duskywing

Erynnis propertius [Red Listed]

Photo by Laura Matthias

Range: The Propertius Duskywing is found from south-western BC to Baja California.  There are no recognized subspecies.

Wingspan: 3.5 – 4 cm

Habitat: open areas with oak

Hostplant: Garry Oak

overwinters: L5

Adults are seen mainly April and May, but sometimes as late as July. They nectar on a variety of spring flowers, including Common Camas, Hooker’s Onion, and Woolly Sunflower.  Eggs are laid on the leaves of Garry Oak and hatch after one week.  Larvae construct shelters out of silk, sometimes folding leaves over the shelter.  They hide in the shelters during the day and feed on oak leaves mainly at night. In summer, the fully-grown larvae become dormant inside their silk shelters.  The leaves fall in autumn with shelters and larvae still attached.  In early spring, larvae ‘wake up’ in the leaf litter and pupate, with adults emerging a few weeks later.  It is possible that some larvae pupate and reach adulthood in their first spring rather than overwintering.  This would explain occasional very late observations of flying adults.

Threats: residential/commercial development; succession of open woodlands to closed forest or shrub thickets; removal of oak litter.