Spread-wing Skippers (Pyrginae)
Pete Williams, May 8, 2008
August 20, 2008
Identification: Butterflies and Moths of North America, a website hosted by Montana State University website. The upperside of male is blue-gray; female is black. Both sexes have large white spots that form median bands across both wings. Fringes of male is checkered but black checks often reach only halfway to edge of fringe. Male has a costal fold enclosing scent scales on the upperside of the forewing. Underside is dull white with dark gray or olive bands. Spots of the hindwing marginal row are very small; spots of the submarginal row are larger. This species is difficult to separate from the white checkered skipper.
The males patrol in swales most actively in the afternoon, and mating takes place then. Females lay eggs singly on leaf buds and tops of leaves. Adults roost exposed on a tall plant beginning in late afternoon. Caterpillars make folded-leaf nests in which they live and feed, and fully-grown caterpillars hibernate. Wing span is usually about 1-1/2 inches. The caterpillar host plants are usually in the mallow family. :Adults take nectar from white-flowered composites including shepherd's needles, fleabane, and asters; also red clover, knapweed, beggar\'s ticks, and many others. Its preferred habitat is sunny places with low vegetation and some bare soil including prairies, meadows, fields, roadsides, landfills, yards, gardens, pastures, openings and trails in woods.