In Horace's duskywing, both males and females have white spots on the forewing, including a white spot in the forewing cell (the oval space between veins that is toward the leading edge of the forewing, near the body); white spots are larger on females. The overall color is brown without a hint of gray. Males have a bold white line over the eye.
As a spread-winged skipper, this species most often rests with all four of the wings held out flat to the side.
Larvae are bluish green with tiny, light-colored spots; the head is brown with orange blotches around the margin; the body tapers at the end.
Similar species: The ventral (lower) side is the easiest way to separate this species from Juvenal’s duskywing (E. juvenalis): Juvenal’s has two pale spots toward the tip of the ventral hindwing. Also, by late May, the Juvenal’s duskywing has disappeared; after that, Horace’s is the only duskywing in Missouri with a white spot in the forewing cell.
Habitat and Conservation
Skippers are grouped in the same superfamily as butterflies, although in the past they have been considered separate from both butterflies and moths. Taxonomists are biologists who study the names of organisms and the relationships among them. Today taxonomists use the tool of DNA evidence to refine our knowledge.
The names of the closely related Horace's and Juvenal's duskywings reference two of ancient Rome's greatest poets and satirists. Back in the late 1800s, several other species in this genus received names based in Greek and Roman literature. Their namers, Samuel Scudder and Edward Burgess, grew up at a time when classical (ancient Greek and Latin) literature was considered the foundation for an educated mind.