E. T., Where Are You?

Sep 1, 2009

Call it the "Mournful Dusky-Wing" or the "Sad Dusky-Wing."

Call it what you will, but the Erynnis tristis, a member of the skipper butterfly family (Hesperiidae), is neither mournful nor sad when it's nectaring lavender.

The skipper, distinguishable from other dusky wings by its white fringe, is a frequent floral visitor.  

As a caterpillar, its host is oak, including Valley Oak and Cork Oak, says UC Davis butterfly expert Art Shapiro, professor of evolution and ecology.

Compared with other butterflies, including the Western Tiger Swallowtail, "E. T." is not the most beautiful of butterflies.

It doesn't stand out in the crowd. But it does stand out in the lavender.

By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

MOURNFUL DUSKY-WING butterfly nectaring lavender. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Mournful Dusky-Wing

CAUGHT ON THE FLY, a female Erynnis tristis visits lavender. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

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