Erynnis lucilius - (Scudder and Burgess, 1870)
Columbine Duskywing
Other English Common Names: columbine duskywing
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Erynnis lucilius (Scudder and Burgess, 1870) (TSN 706745)
French Common Names: hespérie de l'ancolie
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.108175
Element Code: IILEP37140
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Butterflies and Skippers
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Hesperiidae Erynnis
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Opler, P. A., and A. D. Warren. 2002. Butterflies of North America. 2. Scientific Names List for Butterfly Species of North America, north of Mexico. C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 79 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B02OPL01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Erynnis lucilius
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 01Aug2016
Global Status Last Changed: 01Aug2016
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: While this duskywing is declining or disappeared in some of the more southern parts of its range, it is apparently not doing so in northern and western parts. For now at least it does not seem globally imperiled but it should be monitored especially in areas where deer densities are much above 20 per square mile.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4 (01Sep1998)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (01Aug2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Connecticut (S1), Illinois (SNR), Indiana (S1), Iowa (S3), Kansas (SNR), Kentucky (S1S3), Massachusetts (SH), Michigan (S4?), Minnesota (S4?), New Hampshire (S1), New Jersey (SNR), New York (S4), Ohio (SU), Pennsylvania (S1), Rhode Island (SH), Vermont (SU), Virginia (S1S3), West Virginia (S1), Wisconsin (S2S3)
Canada Manitoba (S3), Ontario (S4), Quebec (S4S5)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)

Area of Occupancy: Unknown 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Overall Threat Impact: Unknown
Overall Threat Impact Comments: As with virtually any forest understory species whose foodplant they will eat, deer are a serious threat in some places, but probably not range-wide. Also in places like New Jersey and New England the decline of this species pre-dated the deer explosion by several decades. To some extent the decline of this species seems to have coincided with the large increase in abundance of E. baptisiae, but it is not clear whether there is any actual connection--that once uncommon species benefited greatly from an exotic foodplant.

Short-term Trend: Unknown

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-50%
Long-term Trend Comments: This species has declined or disappeared in much of the northeastern USA, and probably in southern parts of the range generally. It is rare, if still extant in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and the extent of its decline is uncertain in New York and much of New England. However it is not known to be declining in the Upper Great Lakes states or in Canada.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles))  

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CT, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA, VT, WI, WV
Canada MB, ON, QC

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CT Fairfield (09001)*, Litchfield (09005), New Haven (09009)*
IA Allamakee (19005), Clayton (19043), Clinton (19045), Jones (19105)
IN Lake (18089)
NH Coos (33007), Hillsborough (33011)*, Merrimack (33013)*, Strafford (33017)
NJ Bergen (34003)*, Essex (34013)*, Morris (34027)*, Passaic (34031)*, Sussex (34037)*
PA Centre (42027), Huntingdon (42061)
VT Addison (50001)
WI Burnett (55013), Crawford (55023), Dane (55025), Grant (55043), Jackson (55053), Outagamie (55087), Pierce (55093), Sauk (55111), Trempealeau (55121), Vernon (55123), Washington (55131), Waukesha (55133)
WV Grant (54023), Hampshire (54027), Jefferson (54037), Mineral (54057), Pendleton (54071)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Piscataqua-Salmon Falls (01060003)+, Contoocook (01070003)+*, Nashua (01070004)+*, Merrimack (01070006)+*, Upper Connecticut (01080101)+, Quinnipiac (01100004)+*, Housatonic (01100005)+
02 Rondout (02020007)+*, Hackensack-Passaic (02030103)+*, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+*, Bald Eagle (02050204)+, Lower Susquehanna-Penns (02050301)+, Upper Juniata (02050302)+, South Branch Potomac (02070001)+, North Branch Potomac (02070002)+, Conococheague-Opequon (02070004)+, Shenandoah (02070007)+, Middle Potomac-Catoctin (02070008)+
04 Wolf (04030202)+, Otter Creek (04150402)+
07 Upper St. Croix (07030001)+, Rush-Vermillion (07040001)+, Buffalo-Whitewater (07040003)+, Trempealeau (07040005)+, La Crosse-Pine (07040006)+, Black (07040007)+, Coon-Yellow (07060001)+, Upper Iowa (07060002)+, Grant-Little Maquoketa (07060003)+, Turkey (07060004)+, Apple-Plum (07060005)+, Maquoketa (07060006)+, Lower Wisconsin (07070005)+, Kickapoo (07070006)+, Lower Wapsipinicon (07080103)+, Upper Rock (07090001)+, Crawfish (07090002)+, Chicago (07120003)+, Upper Fox (07120006)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Savanna, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Wooded areas including many kinds of glades, barrens, ridgetops as well as gullies and oepnings in richer woods with an abundance of columbines. In the Northeast perhaps least unlikely where E. BAPTISIAE is scarce (Schweitzer). Habitat needs other than abundance of coulmbines are unclear.
Adult Food Habits: Nectarivore
Food Comments: Caterpillar Hosts: Wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and sometimes garden columbine (A. vulgaris) in the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). Adult Food: Flower nectar (Lotts and Naberhaus 2017).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Group Name: Pyrginae

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A location where the species occurs, or recently has occurred, where there is potential for persistence or regular recurrence. Minimally a suitable habitat with the larval foodplant where at least one adult has been verified by a photograph or preferably a specimen. Photographs must be diagnostic and will may need to show both wing surfaces, and there will be circumstances where only a specimen or genitalia examination of one will suffice. Specimens are much easier to obtain. Sight records are not an acceptable basis for a new EO. High quality occurrences will generally support metapopulations.
Mapping Guidance: Consult the habitat and food comments fields for species-specific information on what constitutes suitable habitat when mapping occurrences for individual species.
In very many cases the habitat will be very obviously defined, e.g. eastward a pine barrens or savanna, a ridgeline with many outcrops, a powerline, or multiple foodplant patches within an airport approach zone. Westward metapopulations may be confined to obvious features like a canyon, a stretch of riparian zone or a ridge system. In such cases use the boundaries for the feature supporting the overall metapopulation and it may be useful to map major foodplant patches within these. With a few exceptions such as oak feeding ERYNNIS, most species in this group feed as larvae on plants, usually legumes or mallows, that are typically not community dominants and are often patchy or sparse. So where practical base boundaries on obvious habitat features.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: When dealing with multiple patches of habitat within an obvious feature like a pine barrens, airport approach zone or powerline, consider all as one metapopulation subject to the suitable habitat distance. On most right of ways or if tthe species is occurring patchily along a riparian corridor, apply the suitable habitat distance unless the foodplant really is completely absent for at least half that distance.
Separation Justification: Most species use small discrete habitats or have patchy foodplant two kilometers across really unsuitable habitat should nearly isolate EOs. However, with marginal habitat use the 10 kilometer figure. On the other hand some adults do wander, especially in summer broods, and even the most localized species seem to be unable to persist long as isolated colonies, but do so mostly as metapopulations. Note the drastic decline of ERYNNIS MARTIALIS and E, PERSIUS PERSIUS eastward, including numerous state extirpations, once they became isolated on a few ridges and small (few hundred hectares) barrens. Even common species such as THORYBES BATHYLLUS often exist in very low densities patchily over large areas and often fail to occupy or persist in small habitat scraps. On the other hand around airports and in right of ways most to all habitat patches are typically occupied at least some of the time. Most Pyrginae are not usually found in dense numbers. These observations strongly suggest much movement and a general need for metapopulations although better data would be desirable, Some occurrences are several kilometers in one or more dimension, even some for rare species such as at least in the 1970s-early 1980s for ERYNNIS PERSIUS PERSIUS in the pine barrens around Concord, new Hampshire and Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: In most cases with taxa likely to be actually tracked and mapped occurrences will be in habitats or remnants of habitats of only dozens to perhaps 100 hectares or occupying discrete patches within larger communities or landscape features and the inferred extent is all available habitat even if this exceeds 1 kilometer. However in cases where the habitat appears extensive or is unclear and information on the occurrence is limited, assume only all suitable habitat within I kilometer radius. Note however if the foodplant is spotty or highly localized never infer an extent greater than that occupied by this plant. In general these skipper will largely occupy suitable habitat where they are present at all, but often one will not really know what suitable habitat really is locally. In extreme cases such as ERYNNIS JUVENALIS and E. HORATIUS, occurrences in the core of their ranges may well be hundreds of thousands of hectares in heavily oak forested regions, such as obviously so for the former in southern New Jersey.
Date: 18Sep2001
Author: Schweitzer, Dale F.
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 14Aug2009
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Schweitzer, D.F.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 04May2001

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Allen, T.J. 1997. The butterflies of West Virginia and their caterpillars. Pittsburgh, PA. University of Pittsburgh Press.

  • Belth, Jeffrey E. 2013. Butterflies of Indiana A Field Guide. Indiana University Press.Bloomington, IN.


  • Ely, Charles A., M.D. Schwilling, and M.E. Rolfs. 1986. An annotated list of the butterflies of Kansas. Fort Hays Studies: Third Series (Science) Number 7.

  • General Status 2015, Environment Canada. 2015. Manitoba butterfly species list and subnational ranks proposed by Environment Canada contractor.

  • Huber, R. L. 1981. An updated checklist of Minnesota butterflies. Minnesota Entomological Association Newsletter 14(3):15-25.

  • Klassen,P.,Westwood, A.R., Preston. W.B. and W.B. McKillop. 1989. The butterflies of Manitoba. Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature. Winnipeg. 290 pp.

  • Lotts, K., and T. Naberhaus, coordinators. 2017. Butterflies and Moths of North America. Available online: (Version December 2018).

  • Natural Resources Commission. 2014. Roster of Indiana Animals, Insects, and Plants That Are Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened or Rare. Information Bulletin #2 (Sixth Amendment. 20pp.

  • Opler, P. A., and A. D. Warren. 2002. Butterflies of North America. 2. Scientific Names List for Butterfly Species of North America, north of Mexico. C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 79 pp.

  • Opler, P.A. (chair), J.M. Burns, J.D. LaFontaine, R.K. Robbins, and F. Sperling. 1998. Scientific names of North American butterflies. Fort Collins, CO. Unpublished review draft.

  • Opler, Paul A., H. Pavulaan, and R.E. Stanford (coordinators). Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. sa.htm (Version 12Dec2003).

  • Pelham, J. P. 2008. A catalogue of the butterflies of the United States and Canada with a complete bibliography of the descriptive and systematic literature. The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera. Volume 40. 658 pp. Revised 14 February, 2012.

  • Pohl, G.R.  J-F. Landry, B.C. Schmidt, J.D. Lafontaine, J.T. Troubridge, A.D. Macaulay, E.van Nieukerken, J.R. deWaard, J.J. Dombroskie, J. Klymko, V. Nazari and K. Stead. 2018. Annotated checklist of the moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera) of Canada and Alaska. Pensoft Publishers. 580 pp.

  • Shuey, John. 1995. Indiana S-Ranks for Butterflies. Memorandum to Cloyce Hedge. 10 pp.

  • Shull, Ernest M. 1987. The Butterflies of Indiana. Publ. by Indiana Acad. Science, distributed by Indiana Univ. Press, Bloomington/Indianapolis, 262 pp.

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