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Chryxus Arctic (Oeneis chryxus)


There is no overview information available for that species.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Chryxus Arctic (Oeneis chryxus). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Documented locations of Oeneis chryxus in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusSC/N
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS3
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Species guidance

Note: a species guidance document is not available at this time. Information below was originally presented as part of the Online Field Guide to Rare Lepidoptera: Bogs and Barrens.

Identification: Cream to orange-brown on the upperside with up to four black eye-spots on the forewing and two or fewer on the hindwing. The male is marked with grey-brown in the basal area of the forewing. Hindwing below has only 1 black spot near the lower inner wing margin and is covered with dark brown and grey striations overlain with pale grey veins. Male forewing has a dark patch of sex scales. The underside hindwing is distinctive. Wingspan: 39-50mm. Length of forewing: 22-27 mm. Larvae have red-hairy, cylindrical tan bodies tapered toward the rear with two very short tails. They have a dark tan dorsal stripe and alternating brown, tan and white lateral stripes. The head is yellow brown with six brown stripes (Layberry et al. 1998).

Similar Species: Superficially similar in flight to the meadow fritillary (Boloria bellona) which is usually present with it.

Habitat: Dry grass habitats, cutovers, jack pine barrens, rocky and grassy openings in forest especially along ridges.

Nectar Source: Observed nectaring on cherry and wild strawberry in Michigan (Nielsen 1999).

Host Plant: Grasses (Poacea) and perhaps sedges. Reared on poverty grass (Danthonia spicata) in Ontario (Layberry 1998). Observed ovipositing on rice grass (Oryzopsis pungens) and reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) in Ontario (Scott 1986).

Associated Species: Tawny crescent (Phyciodes batesii), Hobomok skipper (Poanes hobomok), hoary elfin (Incisalia polia), meadow fritillary (Boloria bellona), common ringlet (Coenonympha inornata). Flying with red-disked alpine (Erebia discoidalis) in a jack pine cutover in UP Michigan.

State Distribution: Populations are localized in northern Wisconsin. Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Florence, Langlade, Marinette Oneida and Vilas counties.

Global Distribution: Quebec to the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, south into the mountains of California and New Mexico. It occurs in northern Michigan, Wisconsin and west to the Rockies.

Rationale for Species Listing and Threats: Habitat loss due to woody species and forest encroachment. Since it is unknown where the larvae spend the winter or what the measured effects of fire are, overwintering immatures are assumed to be exposed and vulnerable to being killed by fire.

Phenology: Adults fly mid May to the first week in June, with peak flight usually occurring in late May, perhaps more abundantly in even-numbered years.

Life and Natural History: Oeneis butterflies take two years to mature. The first winter is spent as a first or second stage larva and the second winter in the fourth or fifth stage.

Survey Guidelines: A strong flier and difficult to approach. Also blends well into the background of lichen-covered rocks. Found sunning on rocks and bare ground in the habitat. Not often found on flowers in Wisconsin, but often rests in patches of shorter grasses or the hostplant. Usually needs to be pursued and netted. New county records should be documented with voucher specimens.

Inventory, Monitoring and Research Needs: Locate additional populations, particularly in sites managed with fire.

Additional Information: The Oeneis chryxus in the Midwest is subspecies strigulosa.

Management Guidelines: Sites managed with fire should be divided into several burn units leaving refugia. Special care must be taken not to burn entire stands of the hostplant. Small sites should be enlarged, taking care to protect the open breeding habitat.



Chryxus Arctic

Chryxus Arctic, below - Off of Hwy. 27, North of County A in Douglas County.

Photo © Mike Reese.

Chryxus Arctic

Oeneis chryxus in Marquette County, MI.

Photo © Kyle Johnson.

Chryxus Arctic

Oeneis chryxus in Delta County, MI.

Photo © Kyle Johnson.

Last revised: Wednesday, September 19, 2018