Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Small Checkered Skipper - Pyrgus scriptura


Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:


 

External Links





 
General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Layberry et al. 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001] Forewing 0.9-1.3 cm. Very small, white fringe incompletely checkered (black checks on edge of hindwing not reaching outer edge). Uppersurface dark gray with small white spots (spots usually reduced on hindwing), male lacking costal fold, forewing costal margin usually with pale gray area, usually with prominant square white spot in hindwing center but lacking white hindwing basal spot. Undersurface ground color pale and soft, hindwing marginal spots eveny colored, yellowish-tan outwardly.

Phenology
One flight, July to mid-August in Montana and North Dakota; three flights, May to September in Colorado; many flights, March to November in lowland California (Scott 1986). July through August in one-brood areas, March to October in three-brood areas (Glassberg 2001). March to early October in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981). Late April to mid-September in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978), mid-July through mid-August in North Dakota (McCabe and Post 1976), late March to mid-November in southern Nevada (Austin and Austin 1980).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by a combination of very small size, white fringe incompletely checkered, uppersurface dark gray with small white spots (spots usually reduced on hindwing), usually with prominant square white spot in hindwing center but lacking white hindwing basal spot, undersurface with hindwing marginal spots eveny colored, yellowish-tan outwardly.

Species Range
Montana Range

Click the legend blocks above to view individual ranges.
 


Range Comments
Northern California, central Nevada, southeastern Alberta, southwestern Saskatchewan, western North Dakota, south to central Mexico and western Texas (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); usually below 2560 m elevation in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981), 1436 m to 2560 m elevation in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978), 1372 m to 3353 m elevation in southern Nevada (Austin and Austin 1980). In Montana, reported from at least 12 counties in the southwestern 1/6 of the state (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database), to 1890 m elevation. Locally rare to uncommon (Glassberg 2001).

Migration
Non-migratory, but sometimes wanders (Ferris and Brown 1981).

Habitat
Open bare areas, alkali flats, desert washes, roadsides, along railroad tracks, short-grass prairie, disturbed fields, vacant lots, open woodlands, urban lawns and gardens (Scott and Scott 1978; Austin and Austin 1980; Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Shapiro 1991; Layberry et al. 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001). Habitat in Montana not described but probably similar.

Food Habits
Limited information. Larval food plants are members of the Malvaceae, including Malvella (=Sida) and Sphaeralcea (multiple species) (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986, 1992; Shapiro 1991, 2009; Layberry et al. 1998). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Baileya, Eriodictyon, Heliotropium, Heterotheca, Oxytropis, Phacelia, Taraxacum, Tetradymia, Verbena), dung, and mud (Austin and Austin 1980; Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Limited information. Females lay eggs singly on the undersides of host plant leaves, especially mature leaves (Scott 1986; Shapiro 1991). Males patrol throughout the day low to the ground (usually < 10 cm), sometimes perch on the ground or low vegetation, in prairie swales and gullies awaiting or searching for passing females (Scott 1975, 1986; Shapiro 1991).

References
Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
Small Checkered Skipper — Pyrgus scriptura.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from