Plants and Animals

Erynnis persius persius Persius dusky wing

species photo
species photo
species photo

Key Characteristics

Upper surfaces are brown and marked similarly to other duskywings except that the subapical white spots align basally in a straight line. Short grayish-white hairs on the forewing of the male. The caterpillar is pale green sprinkled with white, raised dots with short, white hairs and has yellowish and dark green lateral lines. The head is reddish brown to yellow-green with vertical lighter streaks.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: T - Threatened (legally protected)
Global Rank: G5T1T3
State Rank: S3 - Vulnerable


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Allegan 3 1980
Barry 3 2002
Bay 1 1963
Ionia 1 1954
Kalamazoo 1 1989
Kent 1 1954
Lake 3 1989
Livingston 1 1934
Mecosta 1 1990
Montcalm 7 2007
Muskegon 2 2018
Newaygo 9 2018
Oakland 1 2007
Oceana 2 2014
St. Joseph 1 1987

Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Oak-pine barrens and adjacent prairies and brushy fields and along trails and utility rights-of-way through barrens. The eggs are laid on wild blue lupine (Lupinus perennis). Adults have been observed nectaring on blueberry, wild crab, lupine, downy phlox, wild plum, and birdfoot violet.

Specific Habitat Needs

Host plant needed in: Dry sand prairieHillside prairieOak openingsOak-pine barrensSouthern shrub-carr.

Natural Community Types

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Management Recommendations

Surveys are needed to determine this species' status and distribution. Research to obtain more information on this species' life history and ecology and efforts to assess threats to this species also are warranted. The sites at which this species has been documented should be protected and maintained. Adequate suitable habitat at these sites need to be maintained including sufficient densities of the species' host plant, lupine. Maintenance and long-term preservation of the habitats with which this species is associated depends on the promotion of fire (or an equivalent anthropogenic disturbance) as the prime ecological process driving the persistence and establishment of these natural communities. Prescribed burning can be used as a management tool to try to re-establish or replicate natural fire regimes in barrens and prairie systems. Fire management would help to reverse vegetative succession in these habitats and open up closed forests and prairies that are characterized by dense thatch cover, reduced nectar sources and poor lupine populations. In areas where this species or other rare invertebrates occur or are of management concern, burning strategies should allow for ample refugia (e.g., only burning part of the available habitat at a time, burn frequency and intensity, type of fire, etc.) to minimize incidental take or other potential adverse impacts and facilitate effective post-burn survival and/or recolonization.

Active Period

Flight from first week of May to second week of June

Survey Methods

The best way to survey for this species is by conducting visual meander surveys which consists of checking for this species near larval food plants, on adult nectar sources, and in mud puddles. This species is difficult to identify in the wild. It is strongly recommended that observations of this species be verified through actual specimen vouchers or verification by a species expert.

Visual, aerial net

Survey Period: From first week of May to second week of June

Time of Day: Daytime


Survey References

  • Klots, A.B. 1951. Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 349pp.
  • Martin, J.E.H. 1977. The Insects and Arachnids of Canada (Part 1): Collecting, preparing, and preserving insects, mites, and spiders. Publication 1643. Biosystematics Research Institute, Ottawa.

Technical References

  • Chapman, K.A., M.A. White, M.R. Huffman, and D. Faber-Langendoen. 1995. Ecology and stewardship guidelines for oak-barrens landscapes in the upper Midwest. Pp. 1-29 in F. Stearns and K. Holland, eds. Proc.of the Midwest Oak Savanna Conference, 1993. U.S. EPA, Internet Pubs. Available:
  • Cohen, J.G. 2000. Natural community abstract for oak-pine barrens. Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI. 6 pp.
  • Cohen, J.G. 2004. Natural community abstract for oak openings. Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI. 13 pp.
  • Evers, D.C. 1994. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife of Michigan. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor. 412pp.
  • Glassberg, J. 1999. Butterflies through Binoculars: The East. Oxford University Press, New York. 242pp.
  • Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 1995. Forest stewardship training materials for oak-pine barrens ecosystem. Unpublished manuscript. Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI.
  • Nielsen, M.C. 1999. Michigan butterflies and skippers: A field guide and reference. Michigan State University Extension Bulletin E-2675, East Lansing. 248pp.
  • Opler, P.A. 1981. Management of prairie habitats for insect conservation. Natural Areas J. 1(4):3-6.
  • Panzer, R. 1988. Managing prairie remnants for insect conservation. Natural Areas J. 8(2):83-90.
  • Schweitzer, D.F. 1989. A review of Category 2 insects in U.S.F.W.S. Regions 3, 4, and 5. U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv., Unpubl. Rept.
  • Stehr, F. W. 1997. Michigan Lepidoptera Survey Sites and Seasonal Occurrence of Michigan's Listed Species Annual Report 1997. 30 pp.+ MI Lepidoptera Survey Data Collection Form