Dion Skipper (Euphyes dion) (W.H. Edwards, 1879)
Diagnosis: Above, both sexes are dark brown. The male forewing has a heavy black stigma bordered (sometimes surrounded) by a bright orange patch; females have a series of four to seven pale cream to orange spots. On the hindwing, both sexes have a short pale orange streak above and two long pale orange streaks on the orange-brown underside. Wingspan: 29 to 35 mm.
Subspecies: Two, but only the nominate subspecies is found in Canada.
Range: Euphyes dion flies in a large part of the eastern U.S., and from southern Ontario through the Ottawa area to Joliette, Quebec, northeast of Montreal.
Similar Species: Other Euphyes: the two orange streaks on the hindwing underside of dion are diagnostic.
Early Stages: The larva is bluish green with a dark green dorsal line, with white flecks and many black dots, yellow between the anterior segments. The head is white, with an orange-brown vertical line on each side connecting across the top; the front is paler orange brown with an elongate black spot surrounded by a thick white line near the top. Larval foodplants are sedges, Carex lacustris and C. hyalinolepis, possibly C. stricta (Scott, 1986).
Abundance: Although very local, dion can occasionally be common within a colony.
Flight Season: This large skipper flies from late June to mid-August. There is one generation per year in Canada, up to three in the U.S.
Habits: The Dion Skipper is restricted to patches of its sedge foodplants. In the Ottawa area these are usually small mixed roadside stands of several species of sedges.
Remarks: Euphyes dion is a strong flyer, very wary, and difficult to approach. Both sexes are often seen from a distance, perched on the tips of the sedges or any other tall plant in or around the sedge patch, but they usually disappear long before you are able to reach them. In eastern Ontario they often share the stands of sedge with the equally local Poanes massasoit; the first Quebec specimens of these two species were taken by RAL in a tiny roadside sedge patch near St-Zotique, Soulanges County, on 1 July 1991.
© 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.
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