Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)
Subfamily Satyrinae (Satyrs, Morphos and Owls)
Tribe Satyrini (Alpines, Arctics, Nymphs and Satyrs)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Neominois Scudder, 1875. Type species: Satyrus ridingsii Edwards
?Karanasa Moore, 1893. Type species: Satyrus huebneri C. & R. Felder
Explanation of Names
The genus Neominois in North America is very closely related to the genus Karanasa of Eurasia, and they perhaps should be considered as one genus; however, Lepidopterists in Eurasia retain the name Karanasa for Palaearctic species of the group.
The genus Oeneis is also very closely related.
The number of accepted species in North America is usually two, but some authors recognize more. One, Neophasia carmen, is isolated in high mountain ranges in northern Mexico, and has not been found in the US (though it should be watched for in the Chisos and perhaps Dead Horse Mountains in Texas). The other, N. ridingsii is found further north. When N. ridingsii is split the distinction is usually by phenology; with the spring flight one "species" and the summer/autumn flight another. The later flight apparently always occurs where there is also a spring flight, but many regions do not seem to have a second flight.
The group [Karanasa] is apparently more diverse in Eurasia, and there are are over 30 species of Karanasa listed, with many more "subspecies" names, but there is very little difference between many of them, many seem to run together, and the number of "real" biological species may only be about five or six.
Distinctive butterflies, difficult to confuse with any others. The wings are elongate; above they are light dull brownish with a row of large uneven-sized pale ovals, often fused into an irregular broken pale band. Within these on the front wing are two prominent black eye spots. The pale areas are surrounded by a narrow dark border, and there is a narrow somewhat irregular dark line crossing closer to the base of the wings. The under side is similar, but the pale patches are larger, the veins are nearly white, and there are many very fine short darker striations.
Oeneis is the only other North American butterfly genus with similar looking species, but the pale patches are never quite so contrasting or well-developed; most species are larger, and they occur in higher elevation or more northern locations. There are certain Moth species that are rather similar in appearance, but most are considerably smaller, nocturnal or crepuscular (instead of diurnal), and they have the characteristic distinctions of most moths from butterflies (unclubbed antennae, frenulum, etc.).
Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan south across western United States into northeastern Mexico. Karanasa is found in Asia, primarily in the southwest, and in very similar environments.
semiarid short grasslands
These butterflies are somewhat moth-like in appearance. Even though they are often abundant, they are easily missed, since when they fly, they stay low and look much like a dull-colored moth. They live in open grasslands, often gathering in loose groups in certain choice locations (often a slight hollow in the side of a hill or on a gentle slope protected a bit from the wind). The males are territorial and defend preferred perches on the ground to which they return after making patrol flights, chasing other males off, or courting passing females. Females move around in a more random fashion, seeming to dodder around as they search for places to lay eggs. These butterflies often rest on the ground with the wings folded over their backs and tipped to one side, exposing one side to maximum sunlight (or minimum wind) and are very difficult to see until they move. They do visit flowers, among them Eriogonum and assorted Composites, but they are not seen nectaring often. When flushed, they fly low and often quite far, ending by dropping wings folded, into a clump of grass where they are very difficult to see.