Common Sootywing - Pholisora catullus
[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.
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).
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.
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).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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Non-migratory. Sometimes expands range northward in Canada and may form temporary colonies (Layberry 1998).
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.
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).
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).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Brown, F.M. 1957. Colorado Butterflies. Proceedings; Numbers Three through Seven. Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver, Co.
- Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown (eds). 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountains. Univ. of Oklahoma Press. Norman. 442 pp.
- Glassberg, J. 2001. Butterflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Western North America. Oxford University Press.
- Graves, S.D. and A.M. Shapiro. 2003.Exotics as host plants of the California butterfly fauna. Biological Conservation 110: 413-433.
- Guppy, C.S. and J.H. Shepard. 2001. Butterflies of British Columbia: including western Alberta, southern Yukon, the Alaska Panhandle, Washington, northern Oregon, northern Idaho, northwestern Montana. UBC Press (Vancouver, BC) and Royal British Columbia Museum (Victoria, BC). 414 pp.
- James, D.G. and D. Nunnallee. 2011. Life histories of Cascadia butterflies. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press. 447 p.
- Johnson, K. and E. S. Nixon. 1967. The Rhopalocera of northwestern Nebraska. American Midland Naturalist 78:508-528.
- Kohler, S. 1980. Checklist of Montana Butterflies (Rhopalocera). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 34(1): 1-19.
- Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. LaFontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press. 280 pp. + color plates.
- McCabe, T.L. and R.L. Post. 1976. North Dakota butterfly calendar (including possible strays). Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 15:93-99.
- Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Second edition. Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 540 pp.
- Pyle, R.M. 2002. The butterflies of Cascadia: a field guide to all the species of Washington, Oregon, and surrounding territories. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington. 420 pp.
- Scott, J.A. 1975b. Mate-locating behavior of western North American butterflies. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 14:1-40.
- Scott, J.A. 1979. Hibernal diapause of North American Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 18(3): 171-200.
- Scott, J.A. 1986. The butterflies of North America: a natural history and field guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
- Scott, J.A. 1992. Hostplant records for butterflies and skippers (mostly from Colorado) 1959-1992, with new life histories and notes on oviposition, immatures, and ecology. Papilio new series #6. 185 p.
- Scott, J.A. 2006. Butterfly hostplant records, 1992-2005, with a treatise on the evolution of Erynnis, and a note on new terminology for mate-locating behavior. Papilio new series #14. 74 p.
- Scott, J.A. 2014. Lepidoptera of North America 13. Flower visitation by Colorado butterflies (40,615 records) with a review of the literature on pollination of Colorado plants and butterfly attraction (Lepidoptera: Hersperioidea and Papilionoidea). Contributions of the C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthopod Diversity. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University. 190 p.
- Scott, J.A. and G.R. Scott. 1978. Ecology and distribution of the butterflies of southern central Colorado. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 17(2): 73-128.
- Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies: including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Unpubl. Report. Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado 275 pp.
- Tooker, J.F., P.F. Reagel, and L.M. Hanks. 2002. Nectar sources of day-flying lepidoptera of central Illinois. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 95(1): 84-96.
- Warren, A.D. 2005. Lepidoptera of North America 6: Butterflies of Oregon, their taxonomy, distribution, and biology. Contributions of the C. P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Colorado State University. Fort Collins, Colorado. 406 pp.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
Do you know of a citation we're missing?
- Allen, T.J., J.P. Brock, and J. Glassberg. 2005. Caterpillars in the field and garden: a field guide to the butterfly caterpillars of North America. Oxford University Press.
- Brock, J.P. and K. Kaufman. 2003. Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY 284 pp.
- Additional Sources of Information Related to "Insects"