Mexico, USA & Canada
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe - SATYRINI
Oeneis chryxus chryxus Kananaskis,
© Chris Orpin
The genus Oeneis
comprises of 43 known species, of which 11 are found in North
America, while the remainder are distributed variously across Europe
and temperate Asia.
Oeneis hardly ever
display the upper surface of their wings except when in flight. Most
species are pale earthy brown above, although some are more richly
coloured in pale orange-brown. They are largely devoid of markings
other than the post-median ocelli, which are usually more
conspicuous in the females. The undersides of all species are
cryptic - marbled and mottled with various shades of brown,
providing them with a highly effective camouflage when settled on
bare earth, tree trunks or lichen-encrusted boulders.
is the commonest and most widespread member of the genus in North
America. It produces 9 subspecies found variously in western Alaska,
across most of Canada, and in the Rocky Mountain states of the USA.
This species is found on mountain scree slopes, alpine grasslands,
rocky hillsides, and areas of tundra where there is plenty of bare
The egg is
grey with numerous white vertical stripes, and globular in shape. It
is laid singly among grasses and sedges where they grow sparsely on
well-drained ground. The caterpillar takes 2 years to develop. It
spends the first winter in the 1st or 2nd instar; and the second
winter in the 4th or 5th instar. When fully grown it is pale brown
with numerous fine white dorsal and lateral stripes. There is also a
broken dark brown mid-dorsal stripe, and a dark lateral stripe above
the spiracles. The larval foodplants are grasses including
Oryzopsis and Phalaris ( Poaceae
Both sexes fly to hilltops or ridges
where courtship and copulation take place. Males perch on bare ground
or on boulders or tree trunks to await passing females.
sexes nectar at Calluna and at various
Asteraceae, with a preference for Cirsium.