Northern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia egeremet) (Scudder, 1864)

Diagnosis: This dull purplish-brown skipper has very little pale shading above or below. The male has a short stigma broken into two separate parts, and some paler orange-brown shading around the stigma. In the female, these pale marks are a little larger and paler yellow. Beneath, the pale forewing marks are repeated and there is usually a very faint medial crescent of pale marks on the hindwing underside. Wingspan: 24 to 29 mm.

Range: Wallengrenia egeremet occurs over almost all of the eastern U.S., and in Canada from the Eastern Townships of Quebec, through southern Ontario to Manitoulin Island and the Algoma and Timiskaming Districts in central Ontario.

Specimen collection data

Similar Species: Males of the Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris) are easy to distinguish by the single stigma and the lack of pale spots above, but females are very difficult to identify. Females of vestris have smaller pale spots on the forewing and lack the row of pale spots on the underside of the hindwing. However, to ensure identification, it is necessary to examine the legs: vestris has just the usual pair of scaled spurs at the end of the middle leg tibia, while in egeremet there are numerous spines in addition to the spurs. [compare images]

Early Stages: The larva is pale mottled green, with a dark green dorsal stripe and yellowish lateral stripes. The head is dark brown with pale vertical stripes. Foodplants are grasses, including Crab Grass (Digitaria sanguinalis) and Panic Grass (Panicum clandestinum and P. dichotomum).

Abundance: Locally common, but in most of its Canadian range it is often overlooked because of its similarity to the much more common Dun Skipper.

Flight Season: On the wing from late June to early August, with one generation per year in Canada, two in the southern U.S.

Habits: The Northern Broken-Dash flies in dry fields and meadows and open areas near woods, and is often seen on flowers in the company of the very similar Dun Skipper.

© 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.