Conservation Status
Vermont S4
Global G4

North American Range
Central Saskatchewan and eastern Nebraska east to Nova Scotia, south to central Alabama and Mississippi.

Preferring shady or low light conditions, they are crepuscular and have even been reported at mercury vapor lights after dark. They are not completely inactive during the day, on the contrary, they can be seen throughout daylight hours, however there is an obvious flight surge around dusk and this is often preceded by a period of inactivity during the afternoon while other butterflies are commonly flying. They are strong, jerky fliers and spend the bulk of their adult lives within dense woodlands rather than clearings or sunny edges. Males perch on tree trunks or vegetation up to 10 feet above ground at edges of clearings to wait for females. Eggs are laid singly on the hostplant; third- and fourth-stage caterpillars overwinter.


Antenna clubs are black. Upperside is brown with dark eyespots. Underside is brown; submarginal row of four black spots on forewing is straight and the dark line inside it is sinuous. Spots are not surrounded by diffuse white.


One brood. Extreme dates: 27 May 2005 in Grand Isle (D. Hoag) and 27 September 2005 in Rupert (D. Rolnick).

Distribution and Habitat

Working at the height of New England deforestation, Scudder (1889) wrote that “within the limits of New England it is very rare.” It was found throughout the state during VBS. Its preferred habitats were damp, deciduous woods, usually near marshes or waterways and often in mountainous terrain. Hostplants include White Grass (Leersia virginica), Bearded Shorthusk (Brachyelytrum erectum), and Bottlebrush (Hystrix patula). Adults do not nectar from flowers, instead getting their nutrients from dung, fungi, carrion, and sap from willows, poplars, and birch. Reported at sap flows of Black Birch, maple, apples and wild grape during VBS.northernpearlyeyenorthernpearlchart-2

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