Gesta (Erynnis) funeralis

Funereal Duskywing

This is southern California's most common duskywing, found in suburban gardens as well as coastal, montane, and even some desert habitats. Its larval food plants are many common legumes (Fabaceae family) including deerweed (Acmispon glaber) and desert lotus (Acmispon rigidus). Duskywings can be difficult to identify with certainty, but in our area only two species have a white fringe on the hind wings: the funereal and mournful (tristis) duskywings. Mournful duskywings feed on oaks, and males hilltop to find mates. So if you're around oaks and/or on a hilltop, you may have the mournful. If you're in a patch of deerweed or other Fabaceae-family plants, there's a good chance you're among funereal duskywings. Whether the light patch on the forewings always indicates funereal duskywings is worth deeper study; I know of two eminent lepidopterists who do not believe the two species can be reliably distinguished by field marks. Some (not all) of the photos below are judgement calls.

The overwintering stage is as a mature caterpillar in a silken leaf shelter. Like the mournful duskywing, it flies much of the year.

Erynnis funeralis - Funereal Duskywing
A female funereal duskywing in my garden in Long Beach on June 16, 2009.
Erynnis funeralis - Funereal Duskywing
A female funereal duskywing along Bear Canyon trail, off Hwy 74, Cleveland Natl Forest on April 12, 2006. She was ovipositing on deerweed (Acmispon glaber).
Erynnis funeralis - Funereal Duskywing
A male funereal duskywing in my garden on July 4, 2006.
Egg of Gesta or Erynnis funeralis - Funereal Duskywing
I watched a female place this egg on deerweed in my garden in Long Beach. April 7, 2013.
Egg of Gesta or Erynnis funeralis - Funereal Duskywing
The egg changes color as it ages, and is orange, then brown before hatching. Also in my garden; October 16, 2011.
Larva (caterpillar) of Gesta or Erynnis funeralis - Funereal Duskywing
This caterpillar was in a nest of leaves of desert lotus (Acmispon rigidus) at Cactus Spring Trail. October 30, 2023. The brown head capsule distinguishes it from afranius larvae, at least in later instars.
Original description of Gesta or Erynnis funeralis - Funereal Duskywing
This account of the genitalia from 1870 by Samuel Scudder and Edward Burgess is considered the original description of this skipper. It was published in the Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History.

©Dennis Walker