Male. Thomas E. Riley Wilderness Park, Coto de Caza, Orange County, CA. 10-8-05.
Copyright: Ron Hemberger

Mournful duskywing

Erynnis tristis

Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae

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San Joaquin Freshwater Marsh, Irvine, Orange County, CA. 9-7-06. © Ron Hemberger

Irvine Regional Park, Orange, Orange County, CA. 11-4-06. © Ron Hemberger

Male. Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton, Orange County, CA. 9-13-09. © Ron Hemberger

Male. Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton, Orange County, CA. 9-13-09. © Ron Hemberger

Oak Canyon Nature Center, Anaheim, Orange County, CA. 6-11-10. © Ron Hemberger

Tree of Life Nursery, San Juan Capistrano, Orange County, CA. 9/13/10.© Peter J. Bryant

Oak Canyon Nature Center, Anaheim, Orange County, CA. 9-11-10. © Ron Hemberger

Oak Canyon Nature Center, Anaheim, Orange County, CA. 9-11-10. © Ron Hemberger

Oak Canyon Nature Center, Anaheim, Orange County, CA. 6-11-10. © Ron Hemberger

Oak Canyon Nature Center, Anaheim, Orange County, CA. 6-11-10. © Ron Hemberger

Characteristics: DW dark brown, usually lighter than E. funeralis. VHW usually without pale patches adjacent to white fringe. Dissecting and comparing the male genitalia is usually necessary before specimens can be accurately identified. Forewing length: 19-21 mm.

Similar Species: Erynnis funeralis is similar and often nearly identical in appearance, but it generally has whitish patches adjacent to the white fringe onthe VHW, lacking in E. tristis.

Distribution: The Tristis Duskywing is usually captured at lower elevations in the canyons of the Santa Ana Mountains. A few foothill records and a number of old coastal and low elevation inland records also exist.

Flight Period: Multiple brooded, adults flying from late February to September.

Larval Foodplants: Several oak species are recorded. The Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia is the only known larval foodplant for tristis which occurs in Orange County.

Other Remarks: The species is uncommon in Orange County, usually picked up only as single specimens. My 1967 record from Orange probably represents a stray, since the nearest oak trees are located at least 3-4 miles from the site, with both foothills and housing tracts between. Theodore Hower's coastal records were also probably some distance from the nearest larval foodplant. The Tristis Duskywing, like other duskywing skippers, is a strong flier and probably strays from breeding sites.

From Orsak, L. J. (1977). The Butterflies of Orange County, California. Center for Pathobiology Miscellaneous Publication #3. University of California Press, New York. 349pp.