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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Funereal Duskywing
Erynnis funeralis  SKINNER, 1905
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - PYRGINAE
Tribe - ERYNNINI
Erynnis funeralis, Arizona, USA  Tony Hoare
Introduction
The subfamily Pyrginae are characterised by their habit of basking with wings outspread, compared to the half-open position favoured by the Hesperiinae.
The genus Erynnis has representatives throughout the temperate and sub-tropical regions of the northern hemisphere. There are 18 species in North America.
The dull brown appearance of funeralis epitomises the genus Erynnis, although some species, e.g. alfranius, baptisiae and the European Dingy Skipper tages, have subtle but beautiful patterns of pale dots and wavy lines.
One of the most distinctive characteristics of Erynnis species is their habit of roosting overnight or in overcast weather at the top of herbaceous plants, with their wings wrapped very tightly around dead flowerheads. By adopting this posture the camouflage pattern becomes incredibly effective, enabling the insects to escape the notice of birds and small mammals, thus avoiding predation for long periods. In England e.g. I observed a specimen of tages which remained continually at roost on a dead knapweed flowerhead for 14 days during an extended period of bad weather in 2006.
Erynnis funeralis is the most widespread and common species in the Americas, being distributed from California to Argentina.
Habitats
This species inhabits dry grassy habitats at elevations between sea-level and about 2000m.
Lifecycle
The egg is yellow and is laid singly on the upperside of a leaf. The larval foodplant in the USA and Mexico is Robinia ( Fabaceae ). The fully grown larva is translucent green with thin pale lateral and dorsal lines. It has a squarish, charcoal coloured head with a pair of pale brown stubby knobs. The pupa is pinkish-white and is formed in a flimsy cocoon among leaf litter.
Adult behaviour
Both sexes take nectar from a wide variety of herbaceous flowers. They bask with their wings fully outspread on cool or overcast days, but hold the wings erect when temperatures are higher.
 

 

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