Appalachian Brown (Satyrodes appalachia) (R.L. Chermock, 1947)

Diagnosis: Satyrodes appalachia is soft purplish brown in colour and, like the Eyed Brown, appears to be faded, even when fresh. The dark eye-spots on both wings are very similar to those of eurydice.The dark line between the light and dark areas of the underside is gently curved rather than zigzagged. Wingspan: 39 to 51 mm.

Subspecies: There are two subspecies, but only subspecies leeuwi is found in Canada.

Range: Satyrodes appalachia is found in the eastern U.S. from Florida to Maine, and in Canada in southern Ontario, north to Manitoulin Island, and southern Quebec, north to St-Joseph-de-la-Rive, Charlevoix-Ouest County.

Specimen collection data

Similar Species: The Eyed Brown (S. eurydice) and the Northern Pearly-Eye (Enodia anthedon). [compare images]

Early Stages: The larvae are very similar to those of eurydice, but the red on the head is only on the horns. They feed on sedges, Carex lacustris, C. stricta, and others, and hibernate in the third or fourth instar.

Abundance: The Appalachian Brown varies from scarce to common, but is never seen in abundance like the Eyed Brown.

Flight Season: It flies from late June to early August, and is commonest in mid-July. There is one generation per year in Canada, two farther south.

Habits: The Appalachian Brown is a woodland butterfly, usually found in wet sedge areas near the edge of woods. Often these areas are adjacent to open sedge areas where eurydice flies, and the two species can be seen within a few metres of each other without intermingling. Unlike the sedentaryeurydice, the Appalachian Brown is not absolutely restricted to these woodland sedge patches, but wanders in small numbers throughout wooded areas. In the Ottawa area, satyrs seen in dry woods, far from any wet areas, sometimes prove to be Satyrodes appalachia, rather than the more expected Northern Pearly-Eye (Enodia anthedon). Several mark-release-recapture experiments in the northern U.S. have had almost no recaptures at all, probably because of this wandering tendency.

Remarks: Satyrodes appalachia was originally described as a subspecies of eurydice and was only discovered to be a distinct species in 1970 (Carde et al., 1970). The butterfly illustrated as eurydice in the first Field Guide to the Butterflies of North America, East of the Great Plains (Klots, 1951) is actually appalachia.

© 2002. This material is reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.