Polixenes Arctic - Oeneis polixenes
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001] Forewing 2.1-2.5 cm. Wings relatively translucent, forewing usually without eyespots. Upper surface gray to brown; undersurface of hindwing with median band usually stongly developed and edged with white, veins whitened.
One flight; mostly late June to early August, mid-June to July in the Arctic, July to mid-August in Labrador and Alberta. Alternate years most places, every year in Colorado (Scott 1986). Mid-June to early August (Glassberg 2001); July and August in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001).
Best determined by the undersurface of hindwing with median band usually stongly developed and edged with white, veins whitened.
Arctic North America, south along Rocky Mountains discontinuously in the west to to northern New Mexico, in the east to eastern Quebec and Mount Katahdin in central Maine (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); above 3355 m elevation to at least 3965 m elevation in Wyoming and Colorado (Ferris and Brown 1981). Hypothetical in Montana; reported from Carbon County sometime prior to 1950 but no records since then (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database). Locally rare (Glassberg 2001).
Alpine and arctic tundra, especially moist or wet hummocky sites, rocky ridgelines (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Guppy and Shepard 2001). Habitat for Montana not described but probably similar.
Larval food plants include Carex, Festuca, Helictotricon; Poa in captivity (Scott 1986, 1992). Adults occasionally feed on flower nectar, including Arenaria, Dryas, and Haplopappus (Scott 1986, 2014).
Limited information. Females lay eggs (singly?) on pebbles and rocks, litter, or dead plant material near host plant. Larvae grow slowly, overwinter twice before pupation and adult eclosion. Overwinter first year as L1 (possibly L2-L3) instar, second year as L4 or L5 instar (Scott 1979, 1986, 1992). Males patrol throughout the day in grassy swales and over north-facing slopes in search of females, sometimes perch in swales and hummocky areas to wait for females to pass (Scott 1975b, 1986).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown (eds). 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountains. Univ. of Oklahoma Press. Norman. 442 pp.
- Glassberg, J. 2001. Butterflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Western North America. Oxford University Press.
- Guppy, C.S. and J.H. Shepard. 2001. Butterflies of British Columbia: including western Alberta, southern Yukon, the Alaska Panhandle, Washington, northern Oregon, northern Idaho, northwestern Montana. UBC Press (Vancouver, BC) and Royal British Columbia Museum (Victoria, BC). 414 pp.
- Kohler, S. 1980. Checklist of Montana Butterflies (Rhopalocera). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 34(1): 1-19.
- Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Second edition. Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 540 pp.
- Scott, J.A. 1975b. Mate-locating behavior of western North American butterflies. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 14:1-40.
- Scott, J.A. 1979. Hibernal diapause of North American Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 18(3): 171-200.
- Scott, J.A. 1986. The butterflies of North America: a natural history and field guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
- Scott, J.A. 1992. Hostplant records for butterflies and skippers (mostly from Colorado) 1959-1992, with new life histories and notes on oviposition, immatures, and ecology. Papilio new series #6. 185 p.
- Scott, J.A. 2014. Lepidoptera of North America 13. Flower visitation by Colorado butterflies (40,615 records) with a review of the literature on pollination of Colorado plants and butterfly attraction (Lepidoptera: Hersperioidea and Papilionoidea). Contributions of the C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthopod Diversity. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University. 190 p.
- Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies: including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Unpubl. Report. Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado 275 pp.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
Do you know of a citation we're missing?
- Allen, T.J., J.P. Brock, and J. Glassberg. 2005. Caterpillars in the field and garden: a field guide to the butterfly caterpillars of North America. Oxford University Press.
- Brock, J.P. and K. Kaufman. 2003. Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY 284 pp.
- Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. LaFontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press. 280 pp. + color plates.
- Additional Sources of Information Related to "Insects"