Chryxus Arctic

Oeneis chryxus

This is a spring butterfly of the far north that I finally was able to see and photograph in 2008. Although it is found throughout the northern counties, the short flight period of this butterfly and the limited distribution in Wisconsin makes it a difficult butterfly to observe. David Bratley of Washburn, WI reports seeing it regularly each year in Bayfield County. He commented very accurately that in flight this species looks very much like a Meadow Fritillary, with which it might be flying; I could easily see how someone might not even notice this species if both were present.

Weekly sightings for Chryxus Arctic

Identifying characteristics

Below, the hindwing is a mottled dark brown with a various shades of white. In the forewing there may be some lighter orange color and a small eyespot. Above, this species is orange with two to four eyespots on the forewing and at least one small one on the hindwing. Some individuals of the Chryxus Arctic have much more obvious darker bands. The one distinctive characteristic is the median line on the forewing below that has a pointed extension towards under the eyespot. This is not present on the other Arctics.

Similar species

Below, the Jutta Arctic looks somewhat similar, but the habitat of these two species is vastly different, with the Chryxus Arctic being found in dry barren habitats and the Jutta being found in bogs, so it is unlikely that one would be seen together with the other. The Jutta Arctic is also somewhat larger than this species.

As noted above, since it looks somewhat light orange in flight, it may be mistaken for a small Fritillary on the wing.

Habitat

Jack Pine barrens and open ridges.

Flight

One brood from mid-May to mid-June.

Abundance

This species can become somewhat abundant where found, but its flight period is not very long in any one area.

Late Chryxus Arctic Sightings

Date County Reported by
Jun 5, 2011 Bayfield Eric North
Jun 5, 2014 Marinette Dan Sonnenberg
Jun 6, 2008 Douglas Ann & Scott Swengel
Jun 7, 2004 Bayfield Dave Hanson
Jun 9, 2014 Marinette Mary Backus

Locations

Map showing sighting locations for Chryxus Arctic
Map key
Chryxus ArcticClick to enlarge

Moquah Barrens, Bayfield Co., WI. May 24, 2009.

Chryxus ArcticClick to enlarge

Off Hwy. 27, north of County A, Douglas Co., WI. May 25, 2008.

Chryxus ArcticClick to enlarge

Off Hwy. 27, north of County A, Douglas Co., WI. May 25, 2008.

Chryxus ArcticClick to enlarge

Mated pair

Off Hwy. 27, north of County A, Douglas Co., WI. May 25, 2008.