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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Uhler's Arctic - Oeneis uhleri

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status


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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001] Forewing 2.3-2.7 cm. Uppersurface dull orange-brown usually with 1 or more forewing submarginal eyespots, hindwing with several submarginal eyespots. Undersurface of both wings with more than 1 and usually many small submarginal black spots (some with white center), forewing lacks postmedian line and outward line projection, hindwing with black wavy striations on white or gray background.

One flight; late May to early July and mostly alternate years (Scott 1986). Mid-May to mid-July) Glassberg 2001). June and July in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by undersurface of both wings with small submarginal black eyespots, the hindwing usually with 4-5 submarginal spots.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Northeastern Alaska, Yukon and extreme Northwest Territories, southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, North Dakota, western South Dakota and Nebraska, in the Rocky Mountain states south to northern New Mexico (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); to 3658 m elevation in Colorado but mostly below 3050 m (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978; Ferris and Brown 1981). Relic populations in prairie pine forest of western Dakotas and Nebraska (Johnson 1975). In Montana, reported throughout most of the state except the extreme northwestern counties (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993). Locally common in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 8

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)


Virgin dry prairie, slopes and hilltops, foothills, grassy openings in pine and subalpine woodlands, above treeline in alpine terrain (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Guppy and Shepard 2001). In Glacier National Park, Montana reported from above treeline in alpine terrain (Debinski 1993).

Food Habits
Limited information. Larval food plants likely include Festuca, Koeleria, and Poa, among other possibilities (eggs laid on each), possibly Carex (Scott 1986, 1992, 2006). Adults feed infrequently on flower nectar (including Eriogonum, Prunus, Senecio, Thermopsis) and mud (Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs singly and haphazardly on dried grass blade, pine needles in forest litter. Number of eggs per ovariole (1/8 of total) about 30 (Ehrlich and Ehrlich 1978). Eggs hatch in about 20 days, larve hibernate (overwinter) in L3 or L4 instar, L2 and L5 also reported (perhaps second winter for older larvae), pupate in loose soil (Brown 1957; Scott 1979, 1992, 2006; Guppy and Shepard 2001). Males perch throughout the day on logs, low plants, slope crests, in clearings, in and near bunchgrass communities to await passage of females, sometimes patrol short distances (Masters and Sorensen 1969; Scott 1975b, 1986).

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Citation for data on this website:
Uhler's Arctic — Oeneis uhleri.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from