Caterpillar Identification Guide

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) caterpillar

Common Name: Dreamy Duskywing

Genus-Species: Erynnis icelus

Host Plants: Willows, Poplars

Habitat: Dreamy Duskywings host plants are mainly willows and poplar in Wisconsin, and as such are often found in moister habitats than the Sleepy Duskywing. But they can be found, especially when they are nectaring, in many of the same drier habitats where Sleepy Duskywings are found. In several other states, they may also use oaks as a host plants, so more study is needed to see if they may use oak species in Wisconsin.

Comments: Nine species of Duskywings have been found in Wisconsin. From a distance of 20 yards, without binoculars, they are all essentially indistinguishable little black skippers. On closer inspection, the Dreamy and Sleepy can easily be distinguished from the others by a lack of white spots in the forewing. Technically this is incorrect, as the Dreamy Duskywing sometimes has a single white spot, which is lacking in the Sleepy Duskywing, although this doesn’t mean that these species are then easily distinguishable from each other.