Species Profile

Dun Skipper vestris subspecies

Scientific Name: Euphyes vestris vestris
Other/Previous Names: Dun Skipper (Western population),Euphyes vestris
Taxonomy Group: Arthropods
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2013
COSEWIC Status: Threatened
COSEWIC Status Criteria: C1
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This species has a small population found in a restricted range in southwestern British Columbia, where it occurs in moist, open habitats, including meadows, wetlands, and disturbed sites. Meadows and wetlands are declining in area and quality owing to natural succession, residential and commercial development, and invasive plants. Disturbed sites are inherently ephemeral and rapidly becoming unsuitable due to native and invasive plant succession. This is a rare species, and despite significant search effort over the last decade, few new sites have been located.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Threatened in November 2000. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2013.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Threatened
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2003-06-05

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Dun Skipper vestris subspecies

Dun Skipper vestris subspecies Photo 1

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Description

The Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris vestris) is a small skipper (wingspan 23 – 32 mm)with uniform chocolate-brown wings with a purplish hue and tan fringes on theouter margins. Adults sit with their hindwings laid flat and their forewingsheld upright. The head and thorax of adults (both sexes) are yellowish-orange.Eggs are pale green, crescent-shaped, globular and smooth when first laid, butprior to hatching change to a reddish colour on top. Larvae have a shiny, palegreen body with many fine, wavy, silvery lines. Pupae are various shades ofyellow, brown and light green, with a blunt, ridged edge at one end. There aretwo subspecies of the Dun Skipper in Canada (E. v. vestris and E. v. metacomet).This status report addresses E. v. vestris,the western ranging subspecies. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Distribution and Population

Globally,the Dun Skipper ranges from southwestern British Columbiasouth through the western portions of Washington State,Oregon and northern California. The Canadian range is restrictedto the lowlands of the lower Fraser and LillooetRivers (mainland B.C.), the southern Gulf Islands,and southeastern Vancouver Island. On themainland, the species ranges from Lillooet south and west through Boston Bar,Pemberton, Yale and Hope. In the Lower Mainland, it ranges as far north as Powell Riveron the Sunshine Coast. On Vancouver Island, it rangesfrom the Victoria area north to Courtenay andComox; on the Gulf Islands its distribution includes Salt Spring, Denmanand Hornby Islands. There are 209 records datingfrom 1902-2011. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Habitat

Dun Skippers occupya variety of habitats, including open south to southwest, gentle slopeexposures, open forest comprised of Douglas-fir with lowland forest components;below open, sparsely vegetated cliffs and hillsides comprised of Douglas-firand Bigleaf Maple; open moist to dry meadows; open deciduous woods and areasadjacent to swamps and streams; disturbed sites including roadsides, railwayright-of-ways, ditches and powerline right-of-ways; areas with spring floods,natural hot springs or seeps, and wet seasonally flooded stream banks. TheDun Skipper’s flight period coincides with the onset of the growth period ofthe species’ host plants, known to be sedge and grass species, althoughspecific host plant species in B.C. are unknown. In eastern North America, Dun Skipper larvae are known to feed upon YellowNut-grass, which is rare in B.C., and San Diego Sedge, which does not occur in B.C. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Biology

Matingand oviposition coincide with the flight season from late May through earlyAugust. Males perch approximately one metre from the ground and wait forreceptive females. Females lay eggs singly on the host plant and the eggs hatchafter approximately one week. Larvae begin feeding and eventually form tubularsilk shelters (one larva per shelter), formed from two to four tied and rolledhost plant leaves. Throughout winter months, larvae diapause within thesetubular silken rolls, emerging the following spring. Pupation occurs withinsilken tubes, likely at the base of the host plants in spring. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Threats

Threats to the DunSkipper include: 1) habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation from landconversion and infilling of the open wet habitat and plant communities thatoccur throughout the Lower Mainland and southeastern Vancouver Island; 2) natural forest succession; 3) pesticide application to control EuropeanGypsy Moth; and 4) climatechange, primarily through increases in summer drought, potentiallyresulting in desynchronized larval and host plant phenology. Alternatively,climate change may increase precipitation although spring flooding may bedetrimental to larval and pupal survival. Based on the threatof habitat fragmentation and private land development (based on landownership), there are approximately 51 locations (landowners) for the Dun Skipper(extant and extirpated). When only extant locations are considered (recordsfrom 2001 or later and surrounding habitat with little change), the number oflocations is reduced to 28 (landowners). Of the 28 locations, at least threeare threatened by land development within the next three years, and at least 14are within artificially created habitats (e.g., roadside pull-outs, pipelinecrossings, and recent clear-cuts) that are rapidly changing as a result ofnatural vegetative succession and are not expected to be present in 10 years.There is an inferred reduction in the number of matureindividuals from ongoing habitat loss and fragmentation; probably > 30%,based on cumulative threats from development projects in the lower mainland(e.g., industrial park at one site) and vegetative succession (based onnon-native and native plant growth) at sites on Vancouver Island and the mainland. (Updated 2017/05/25)

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Dun Skipper is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Dun Skipper vestris subspecies (Euphyes vestris vestris) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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Recovery Team

BC Invertebrates Recovery Team

  • Jennifer Heron - Chair/Contact - Government of BC
    Phone: 604-222-6759  Fax: 604-660-1849  Send Email

Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team

  • Conan Webb - Chair/Contact - Parks Canada
    Phone: 250-478-5153  Send Email

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

6 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Dun Skipper Euphyes vestris vestris in Canada (2014-01-14)

    The Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris vestris) is a small skipper (wingspan 23 – 32 millimeters) with uniform chocolate-brown wings with a purplish hue and tan fringes on the outer margins. Adults sit with their hindwings laid flat and their forewingsheld upright. The head and thorax of adults (both sexes) are yellowish-orange. Eggs are pale green, crescent-shaped, globular and smooth when first laid, but prior to hatching change to a reddish colour on top. Larvae have a shiny, palegreen body with many fine, wavy, silvery lines. Pupae are various shades of yellow, brown and light green, with a blunt, ridged edge at one end. There are two subspecies of the Dun Skipper in Canada (E. v. vestris and E. v. metacomet).This status report addresses E. v. vestris,the western ranging subspecies.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Dun Skipper vestris subspecies (2013-12-18)

    This species has a small population found in a restricted range in southwestern British Columbia, where it occurs in moist, open habitats, including meadows, wetlands, and disturbed sites. Meadows and wetlands are declining in area and quality owing to natural succession, residential and commercial development, and invasive plants. Disturbed sites are inherently ephemeral and rapidly becoming unsuitable due to native and invasive plant succession. This is a rare species, and despite significant search effort over the last decade, few new sites have been located.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Dun Skipper vestris subspecies (Euphyes vestris vestris) in Canada (2017-12-20)

    The Minister of Environment and Climate Change is the competent minister under SARA for the Dun Skipper vestris subspecies and has prepared the federal component of this recovery strategy (Part 1), as per section 37 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the Province of British Columbia (B.C.), as per section 39(1) of SARA. SARA section 44 allows the Minister to adopt all or part of an existing plan for a species if it meets the requirements under SARA for content (sub-sections 41(1) or (2)). The Province of British Columbia provided the attached recovery plan for the Dun Skipper (Part 2) as science advice to the jurisdictions responsible for managing the species in British Columbia. It was prepared in cooperation with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report – 2012-2013 (2013-09-24)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2012 to September 2013) from November 25 to November 30, 2012 and from April 28 to May 3, 2013. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 73 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2012-2013 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 2 Endangered: 28 Threatened: 19 Special Concern: 19 Data Deficient: 4 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 73 Of the 73 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 50 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#SARA-PYR-2011-0179), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2011-06-27)

    The objective of the project is to determine Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris) presence and to map appropriate habitat on 644 ha of Department of National Defence (DND) land. Upon recommendation of the Recovery Team Chair, the applicant will use best management practices for Taylor's Checkerspot as a guideline for Dun Skipper surveys. Specimens will be identified and photographed in flight by a qualified consultant, and will only be captured by net if they cannot be positively identified. Captured specimens will be held for ~3 minutes for identification without handling, and then released without harm. Areas of appropriate larval host vegetation will be mapped to prevent future habitat destruction; care will be taken not to trample vegetation during surveys. Results will be used to: delineate the current population and the extent of appropriate habitat for all life stages, provide information on population density, assess threats from military activities, and inform avoidance and mitigation measures consistent with Best Management Practices. This species is regulated under the Species at Risk Act. This location is a federal land.

Recovery Document Posting Plans

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan (2016-07-06)

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan identifies the species for which recovery documents will be posted each fiscal year starting in 2014-2015. Posting this three year plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency to partners, stakeholders, and the public about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to develop and post these proposed recovery strategies and management plans. However, both the number of documents and the particular species that are posted in a given year may change slightly due to a variety of circumstances. Last update December 2, 2021
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