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Horace's Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Horace's Duskywing

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Its brown color, similar spot pattern, and multiple variations make Horace's Duskywing easy to mistake for other Duskywings.

Updated: 07/06/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Fast in flight, Horace's Duskywing is a difficult butterfly to identify quickly. Careful examination of wing pattern, color, and season of activity are needed to differentiate it from Juvenal's Duskywing. And even then, it can be complicated. For example, Horace's Duskywing does not have two white spots on its hindwings, but usually Juvenal's do yet some individuals do not. Horace's Duskywing has a cluster of 4 translucent spots that may appear white in bright light on the dark brown wings. Two additional, solitary spots lay beneath this cluster. Some darker brown marks form understated rows on the wings.

Males sit on plants that are low to the ground and scout for females. Mating typically happens at mid-day. Females lay fertilized eggs on young branches of oak trees. Caterpillars feed on the leaves of a variety of oak tree species. In warmer areas, two generations are produced with any late-season caterpillars overwintering.

Adults visit flowers from goldenrod, peppermint, dogbane and winter cress. They enjoy sunbathing in open areas. Look for them in oak forests, open fields, roadsides, meadows and gardens in the summer.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Helpful insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Hesperiidae
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          Genus: Erynnis
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            Species: horatius
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Erynnis horatius
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 36mm to 50mm (1.41" to 1.96")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, white, pink
Descriptors: flying, helpful

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 36mm (1.4in) and 50mm (2.0in)
Lo: 36mm
Md: 43mm
Hi: 50mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Horace's Duskywing may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Horace's Duskywing. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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