New Jersey Butterflies

Northern Broken-Dash

Wallengrenia egeremet

Identification: Very small—FW ≥0.6". Sexes similar below. Above: Male FW mainly dark brown but with orange-yellow on leading edge of forewing. Dark stigma is separated ("broken") into a dotlike segment near the body followed by dashlike segment (this may be hard to see!), and a small, rectangular orange spot extends from outer end of stigma. Female FW is overall dark brown, sometimes with a tawny leading edge, and includes 2-3 yellowish "bracelet" spots" toward wingtip and 2 or 3 conspicuous yellowish spots in center of wing. In both sexes HW is unmarked brown. Below: Both wings dull yellowish brown, HW with a fairly broad band of pale postmedian spots more or less in the shape of a "3" (on the butterfly's left side; this mark is backward on the right side.). Similar skippers: Dun Skipper and Little Glassywing are darker brown below. Dun male usually lacks HW spotband, female's band is of tiny spots, and spotband on Little Glassywing is an uneven crescent of small spots, not in shape of a "3." Black Dash is reddish-brown below with a broad, central pale patch.

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. Widespread and fairly common, rather local on the Coastal Plain.

NJ Range Map-Northern Broken-Dash

Habitat: Open, moist, grassy areas, often near woodlands. Readily visits gardens.

Flight Period: Mid-June—late-September, peaking from mid-June—early August. Extreme dates: North Jersey: 5/27—10/11; South Jersey 6/8—9/12.

Larval Food Plants: Taller-growing panic grasses —e.g., Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and Deertongue (Dicanthelium clandestinum).

Overwintering Stage: Middle-instar larva.

Best Locations: Deer Path CP, Troy Meadows, Tatum Park, Mercer County Park NW, Big Brook Park, Eldora Nature Preserve, Leaming’s Run Gardens.

Comments: Dun Skipper, Little Glassywing, and Northern Broken-Dash are called the "3 witches"—3 small, dark, difficult-to-separate skippers that fly at the same time in similar habitats.



Northern Broken-Dash

Male, Great Swamp NWR, Morris Co., NJ, 6/13/04.


Northern Broken-Dash

Female, Crater Lake Rd., Sussex Co., NJ, 7/24/2007 on Spotted Kanpweed.


Northern Broken-Dash

Fredon Twp., Sussex Co., NJ, 7/9/07, on Purple Coneflower (right side view, showing a backward and rather poorly expressed "3").