Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades) (Geyer, 1832)

Diagnosis: This large skipper is dark brown, above and below, with a band of golden yellow spots across the forewing on both surfaces. The hindwing has blackish brown spots near the centre of the wing on the underside and a contrasting band of hoary white shading on the outer third of the wing. Wingspan: 40 to 49 mm.

Range: Resident from central New York, southern Michigan, and possibly southwestern Ontario, southward to northern Florida and east-central Texas.

Similar Species: The Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus). [compare images]

Early Stages: The larvae are green with a darker blue-green mid dorsal line and a series of yellowish-orange dots making up a lateral line. The head is black. They feed on Fabaceae, mainly tick-trefoil (Desmodium spp.), bush-clover (Lespedeza spp.), and False Indigo (Amorpha fruticosa).

Abundance: Although fairly common farther south, the Hoary Edge is extremely rare in Canada, with only four records known to date; these are all from the same area so an as yet undiscovered colony may exist.

Flight Season: Only one generation occurs in the northern part of its range (two farther south), with adults on the wing from early June to early July.

Habits: Males are reported to perch 1 to 2 metres above the ground on trees and shrubs at the margins of forest clearings to watch for females (Scott, 1986).

Remarks: Canadian records of Hoary Edge are all from an area adjacent to the Ojibway Prairie Preserve at Windsor, Ontario, with collecting dates of 9 June and 9 July, 1988 (Jeff Larson), 29 June 1989 (Jeff Larson), and 6 July 1996 (Brenda and Ben Kulon).

© 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.