Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna) (W.H. Edwards, 1862)

Diagnosis: The Little Glassywing is a very dark brown skipper. The males have several clear transparent spots in the wing near the black stigma. The females have tiny pale spots near the forewing tip and several larger transparent spots, with the largest one square in shape. The hindwing underside has a very faint medial band of paler spots. Wingspan: 24 to 33 mm.

Range: Pompeius verna is found throughout most of the eastern U.S., and reaches Canada only along the Quebec-U.S. border, and in southern Ontario.

Similar Species: Could be confused with the Northern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia egeremet) or the Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris), but the forewing spots are pale and opaque in these species but clear and transparent in verna. See also the Sachem (Atalopedes campestris). [compare images]

Early Stages: The larva is yellow green to yellow brown, covered with tiny dark brown bumps. There are dark dorsal and lateral stripes, and the head is dark reddish brown. Foodplants are grasses, including Redtop Grass (Tridens flavus) (Scott, 1986; Opler and Malikul, 1992).

Abundance: This species is local and uncommon.

Flight Season: In Canada verna flies from mid-July to early August. There is one generation per year, and two farther south.

Habits: The Little Glassywing prefers moist grassy areas near woods, wet meadows, and roadsides. It is fond of flowers and is often seen on mud.

Remarks: This species was once reported from Gatineau Park, in Quebec just north of Ottawa (Layberry et al., 1982), but this species is so difficult to identify in the field that this sight record is not considered reliable.

© 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.