Simius Roadside Skipper - Notamblyscirtes simius
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.
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).
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.
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).
Non-migratory. Average straight-line distance moved by both sexes in 4 days was < 150 m (Scott 1975c), maximum distance < 500 m (Scott 1973a).
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.
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).
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).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Burns, J.M. 1990. Amblyscrites: problems with species, species groups, the limits of the genus, and genus groups beyond--a look at what is wrong with the skipper classification of Evans (Hesperiidae). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 44:11-27.
- 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.
- Kohler, S. 1980. Checklist of Montana Butterflies (Rhopalocera). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 34(1): 1-19.
- 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.
- Scott, J.A. 1975b. Mate-locating behavior of western North American butterflies. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 14:1-40.
- Scott, J.A. 1975c. Flight patterns among eleven species of diurnal Lepidoptera. Ecology 56(6): 1367-1377.
- 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.
- Scott, James. 1973a. Convergence of population biology and adult behavior in two sympatric butterflies, Neominiois ridingsii (Nymphalidae) and Amblyscirtes simius (Hesperiidae). Journal of Animal Ecology 42: 663-672.
- 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.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- 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.
- Scott, J.A. 1973b. Lifespan of butterflies. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 12:225-230.
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