Identification: Separating Dreamy from Sleepy Duskywings

Roger Kuhlman rkuhlman at
Wed Jun 3 11:21:13 EDT 1998

I find seperating Sleepy Duskywings (Erynnis brizo) from Dreamy 
Duskywings (Ernnis icelus) a difficult identification problem in the 
field. What characteristics do people use to tell the two apart?  The 
characteristics listed in Paul Opler's Eastern Guide to Butterflies 
often seem problematic to me.

Generally Dreamy's are supposed to be a smaller butterfly but judging 
relative sizes is not an easy thing to do with single specimens in 
isolation. Also the banding on the Dreamy is supposed to be less 
distinct(not as continuous) than on Sleepy but for a lot butterflies I 
can't tell the difference. The last characteristic that supposedly 
distinguishes the two species is length of the palpi--on the Dreamy they 
are said to be very long.

I have been relying on the length of the palpi as the best 
distinguishing feature and secondarily on size--extremely small 
duskywings are bound to be Dreamies.

Am I on the right idea?

Roger Kuhlman
rkuhlman at
Ann Arbor, Michigan

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