Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Nevada Skipper - Hesperia nevada

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status


External Links

General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Layberry 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.3-1.5 cm. Uppersurface tawny-orange and blended into wide dark borders, male forewing stigma with black interior fuzz; females variable, tawny-orange to very dark. Undersurface of hindwing greenish with irregular silvery-white chevron (postmedian band), chevron spots often edged in dark brown or black, the most basal spot offset inward giving posterior arm a 3-step appearance.

One flight, usually mid-June to mid-July; June to early July at low elevation, late June to early August at high elevation (Scott 1986). May to early September, less at any single locality (Glassberg 2001). June to August in Canada (Layberry et al. 1998). Late May through July in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981). Late may to mid-August in Colorado (Emmel 1964; Scott and Scott 1978), early June to early September in North Dakota (McCabe and Post 1976), late June to mid-July at higher elevation in northern California (Emmel and Emmel 1962; Shapiro 1977), early May to late July in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002), late May to early July in Oregon (Warren 2005), mid-May to mid-June in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by a combination of uppersurface tawny-orange and blended into wide dark borders, undersurface of hindwing greenish with irregular silvery-white chevron (postmedian band), chevron spots often edged in dark brown or black, the most basal spot offset inward giving posterior arm a 3-step appearance.

Species Range
Montana Range

Click the legend blocks above to view individual ranges.

Range Comments
Southern British Columbia east to southwestern Manitoba, south to east-central California, east-central Arizona, northern New Mexico (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); 1615 m to 3505 m elevation in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981), 2073 m to 3658 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978), 1067 m to at least 1951 m in Oregon (Warren 2005). In Montana, reported from at least 35 counties in the western 3/4 of the state as far east as Garfield and Rosebud counties (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database), 823 m to 1981 m elevation. mainly uncommon to common, locally rare in Saskatchewan (Glassberg 2001).


Sagebrush steppe, prairie, aspen parkland, dry montane meadows and summits, sometimes above treeline in alpine grassland and ridges (Emmel and Emmel 1962; Emmel 1964; Shapiro 1977; Scott and Scott 1978; Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Layberry et al. 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Warren 2005). Habitat in Montana not described but probably similar.

Food Habits
Larval food plants are grasses, including Achnatherum, Bouteloua, Elymus, Festuca, Koeleria, rarely Danthonia, Poa (Emmel et al. 1970; Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986, 1992; Warren 2005); also Bromus, Cynodon, Setaria in captivity (James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Arnica, Asclepias, Astragalus, Cryptantha, Erigeron, Eriogonum, Erysimum, Geranium, Harbouria, Oxytropis, Penstemon, Sedum, Senecio) and mud (Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs singly on underside of host plant leaves or near host plant (Scott 1986, 1992), on host plant stems or inflorescences in captivity (James and Nunnallee 2011). Eggs hatch in about 9 days, depending on temperature, L1 instar wanders before settling, produces slight silking when at rest but no nest through L2 instar, develop to L4 instar in 42-51 days, construct silked tubular leaf nests on ground as L3-L4 instars, rarely feed and move outside nest as L4 instar, overwinter as L3 or L4 instars, resume activity in spring, build new leaf nests, develop to L5 instar and pupate in cocoon within nest near base of host plant in about 23 days (Scott 1979; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males perch throughout the day on hilltops, ridge crests, sometimes fence lines, awaiting passing females (Scott 1975b, 1986; Warren 2005; James and Nunnallee 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.
    • Emmel, J.F., O. Shields, and D.E. Breedlove. 1970. Larval foodplant records for North American Rhopalocera Part 2. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 9(4): 233-242.
    • Emmel, T.C. 1964. The ecology and distribution of butterflies in a montane community near Florissant, Colorado. American Midland Naturalist 72(2): 358-373.
    • Emmel, T.C. and J.F. Emmel. 1962. Ecological studies of Rhopalocera in a High Sierran Community-Donner Pass, California. I. Butterfly associations and distributional factors. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 16:23-44.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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. 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.
    • Shapiro, A.M. 1977. The alpine butterflies of Castle Peak, Nevada County, California. Great Basin Naturalist 37(4): 443-452.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Nevada Skipper"
  • Additional Sources of Information Related to "Insects"
Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
Nevada Skipper — Hesperia nevada.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from