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Simius Roadside Skipper - Notamblyscirtes simius


Global Rank: G4
State Rank: SNR

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General Description
Notamblyscirtes simius (Simius Roadside Skipper) is of uncertain affinity. It is no longer considered a member of the genus Amblyscirtes (where it was placed in earlier treatments), due to differences from members of that genus in life history, larval, and genitalic traits (Scott 1992; Burns 1990). Scott (1992) termed this skipper Not-"Amblyscirtes" simius, and this name (Notamblyscirtes) appears to have stuck, even though no formal name change appears to have been published.

[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Layberry et al. 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001] Forewing 1.3-1.4 cm. Small, dark gound color, fringes white and uncheckered. Uppersurface orangish to blackish with postmedian V-shaped band of small cream to orange spots, an additional pale spot at end of discal cell, costal margin of forewing pale gray. Male forewing stigma short; undersurface of forewing with large orange disk (basal 2/3 of wing), hindwing soft whitish-gray (with a sheen in fresh individuals) with pale median and postmedian bands.

Phenology
One flight, mid-June to early July northward, late May to July in Colorado; two flights, April to August southward (Scott 1986). Mid-May to August; mainly mid-July to August in southeastrn Arizona, April to July in Texas and southeastern New Mexico, mainly June and July elsewhere (Glassberg 2001). Mid-June to early July in Canada (Layberry et al. 1998). Mid-May to July in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981). Early June to early August in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978), mid-June to mid-July in North Dakota (McCabe and Post 1976).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by a combination of small size, dark ground color, uncheckered white fringes, uppersurface of forewing with pale spot in discal cell, undersurface of forewing with large orange disk (basal 2/3 of wing), hindwing soft whitish-gray with pale median and postmedian bands.

Species Range
Montana Range

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Range Comments
Southern Saskatchewan south through high plains and Rocky Mountain front to western Texas, New Mexico, southern Arizona, also northeastern Mexico; absent from Great Basin (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Layberry et al. 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); up to 2743 m elevation in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981), 1372 m to 2743 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978). In Montana, reported first in 2004, since then from at least 13 counties in the eastern 1/3 of the state, west to Petroleum County (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database; Butterflies and Moths of North America database), to about 1070 m elevation. Mainly rare to uncommon, locally common in parts of Colorado and Wyoming (Glassberg 2001).

Migration
Non-migratory. Average straight-line distance moved by both sexes in 4 days was < 150 m (Scott 1975c), maximum distance < 500 m (Scott 1973a).

Habitat
Native shortgrass and mixed-grass prairie, grassy areas in open pinyon-juniper woodland (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Layberry et al. 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001). Habitat in Montana includes badlands and the Missouri River Breaks (FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database), otherwise not described but probably similar.

Food Habits
Larval food plants are grasses, in particular Bouteloua gracilis (Scott 1973a, 1986, 1992; Ferris and Brown 1981; Layberry et al. 1998). Adults feed on flower nectar, including Astragalus, Cirsium, Cryptantha, Erigeron, Erysimum, Hymenopappus, Lygodesmia, Machaeranthera, Opuntia, Oxytropis, Penstemon, and Taraxacum (Scott 1973a, 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Limited information. Adults (both sexes) live 5-7 days, females mate once, lay eggs singly on the undersurface of host plant leaves. Larvae live in silk-tied tube nests at or slightly below ground surface, hibernate (overwinter) as unfed L1 instar, feed on host plant leaves the following spring, pupate in early to mid-summer in tubular silk-tied leaf nest at or slightly below ground surface (Scott 1973a, 1973b, 1986, 1992). Males perch during early to mid-morning on ground of small hilltops, low ridges, elevated terrain, awaiting passing females (Scott 1973a, 1975b, 1986).

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Simius Roadside Skipper — Notamblyscirtes simius.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from