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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Common Sootywing - Pholisora catullus


Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.2-1.4 cm. Small, wing fringes dark and uncheckered. Uppersurface glossy black with white spots on head and near tip of forewing, female with more white spots including submarginal row on hindwing; undersurface similar, sometimes with bluish or dull brassy cast.

Phenology
Two flights, late May to early September northward, higher elevations; many flights, April through September southward, all year in southern Texas (Scott 1986). Two brood areas, April to September; three brood areas, March to October (Glassberg 2001). Late May to September in Canada (Layberry et al. 1998), early May through September in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981), early May to early September in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978), early May to late July in western Nebraska (Johnson and Nixon 1967), early June to early October in North Dakota (McCabe and Post 1976), late March to early September in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002), late April to early September in Oregon (Warren 2005), late May to late August in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by a combination of small size, black wings with dark uncheckered fringes, uppersurface with white spots on head and near tip of forewing, female with more white spots including submarginal row on hindwing; undersurface similar, sometimes with bluish or brassy cast.

Species Range
Montana Range

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Range Comments
Across extreme southern Canada, south through most of the US to central Mexico (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Layberry et al. 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002); to 2743 m elevation in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981), 1311 m to 2713 m elevation (usually below 2316 m) in Colorado (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978), usually below 1372 m elevation and east of the Cascades in Oregon (Warren 2005). In Montana, reported across the state from at least 24 counties (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database), to at least 1920 m elevation. Mainly common to uncommon in two-brood areas, but rare in the mountains (Glassberg 2001).

Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 13

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Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Migration
Non-migratory. Sometimes expands range northward in Canada and may form temporary colonies (Layberry 1998).

Habitat
Disturbed areas, landfills, roadsides, agricultural lands, vacant lots, gardens, desert washes, alkali flats (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). Habitat in Montana not described but probably similar.

Food Habits
Larval foodplants are native and exotic members of the Amaranthaceae, including Amaranthus (several species), Celosia, and Salsola, and members of the Chenopodiaceae, including Atriplex and Chenopodium (several species) (Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; Pyle 2002; Graves and Shapiro 2003; James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Abutilon, Arctium, Asclepias, Astragalus, Camassia, Capsella, Cardamine, Coreopsis, Dalea, Eryngium, Fragaria, Geranium, Helianthus, Heterotheca, Houstonia, Justicia, Lactuca, Lithospermum, Lobelia, Lupinus, Lycopus, Lythrum, Medicago, Monarda, Nepeta, Oxalis, Pycnanthemum, Rubus, Scutellaria, Silphium, Sphaeralcea, Taraxacum, Thymus, Trifolium, Verbena) and mud (Pyle 2002; Tooker et al. 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011; Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs singly (but sometimes up to 3), mostly on uppersurface of host plant leaves; a single female reported laying about 50 eggs in four days (Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; James and Nunnallee 2011). Eggs hatch in about 5-6 days (depending on temperature), develop from L1 instar to L5 instar and pupae in about 22 days (depending on temperature); adults eclose (emerge from pupae) in about 7-8 days (James and Nunnallee 2011). Larvae feed nocturnally on host plant leaves, live in nests of rolled or tied leaves near, overwinter (diapause) as mature L5 instar in the final nest, pupate the following spring (Scott 1979, 1986, 1992, 2006; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males patrol throughout the day close to the ground, sometimes perch, in roadside ditches, gulches, dry reservoir bottoms, other depressions, seeking females (Scott 1975b, 1986; Pyle 2002; James and Nunallee 2011).

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Common Sootywing — Pholisora catullus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from