Laguna Beach, Orange County, CA. 6/05/05. © Peter J. Bryant

Funereal Duskywing

Erynnis funeralis

Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae

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Laguna Beach, Orange County, CA. 07/02/05. © Peter J. Bryant

Peters Canyon, Orange, Orange County, CA. 7-5-05. © Ron Hemberger

Irvine Regional Park, Orange, Orange County, CA. 9/30/06. © Ron Hemberger

Whiting Ranch, Orange County, CA. 6/21/10. © Peter J. Bryant

Nix Nature Center, Laguna Beach, Orange County, CA. 6-8-09. © Ron Hemberger

Ovipositing on Deerweed, Lotus scoparius. Irvine Regional Park, Orange, Orange County, CA. 4-16-13. Copyright: Ron Hemberger

Characteristics: Dorsal wing black to black-brown in color, white fringe on ventral and dorsal hindwing; pale (weakly differentiated) patches usually present adjacent to white fringe on ventral hindwing, unlike Erynnis tristis tristis, which usually lacks these pale patches. Forewing length: 19-21 mm.

Similar Species: Erynnis tristis tristis, like funeralis, also has a white ventral hindwing fringe and is extremely difficult to distinguish from funeralis without genitalic dissection.

Habitats, Behavior: A rapid flyer and often difficult to catch. The adults may stop to sip moisture and possibly essential minerals from moist mud or sand near streams. The skipper is also attracted to flowers of the Black Sage (Salvia mellifera).

Distribution: This species occurs at lower elevations of the Santa Ana Mountains and adjacent foothills. It is also found at Upper Newport Bay, the San Joaquin Marsh and several other lowland locations. Many sites where funeralis has been captured are somewhat disturbed-some areas had been burned in the 1967 Paseo Grande fire, other localities had been overgrazed or were saturated with various introduced "weeds."

Flight Period:  The Funereal Duskywing has been found in Orange County from February to November which probably represents three broods. The first generation flies from February or early March to early May, the second generation flying from mid-May to late June, possibly into July; the third generation is of late sutruner occurrence (late August to October). The first brood and second broods appear larger than the last in Orange County, but this may be due to collectors' bias.

Larval Foodplants: In Orange County, funeralis probably utilizes Deerweed, Lotus scoparius, frequently. At Upper Newport Bay and elsewhere, funeralis may also utilize Alfalfa (Medicago sativa). Alfalfa is often present in semi-disturbed areas of Orange County. Lotus scoparius is also found in disturbed areas, particularly in those areas recently burned (Munz and Keck, 1968).

Other Remarks: The Funereal Duskywing is probably our most common Erynnis. J. Brock (personal communication) frequently finds this skipper in a 30-year old neighborhood in Bakersfield. I have no records for the species in Orange County suburbs or cities, however.

Further Information: Burns (1964) treats all members of the genus Erynnis. Coolidge (1923) studied the life history of funeralis in southern California.

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

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