Common Roadside-Skipper - Amblyscirtes vialis
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.2 cm. Wing fringes strongly checkered in buff and black. Uppersurface dark brown with tiny white spots; undersurface of forewing with apical violet or gray frosting, subapical spots wider at costal margin forming a white wedge, hindwing dark brown with violet or gray frosting on the outer third.
One flight; June to mid-July in the north and at high elevation, late May to June in most places, late March to mid-May in south, with partial second flight mid-June to early September in south (Scott 1986). May to September in one brood areas, April to August in two brood areas (Glassberg 2001). Late May to July in Canada (Layberry et al. 1998). Mid-May through July in Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981). Early May to late July in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978; Scott and Epstein 1987), late May to early July in North Dakota (McCabe and Post 1976), late April to late August in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002), mid-April to late July in Oregon (Warren 2005), mid-May to mid-July in British Columbia (Threatful 1988; Guppy and Shepard 2001).
Best determined by a combination of wing fringes strongly checkered in buff and black, uppersurface and undersurface of forewing with subapical spots wider at costal margin forming a white wedge; undersurface of forewing and hindwing frosted with violet or gray on the apex or outer third.
British Columbia east across Canada to Gaspe Penensula and Nova Scotia, south to central California, northern New Mexico (avoiding desert southwest), northeast Texas, throughout east US to southern Florida (Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); to 2400 m elevation in the Rocky Mountain states and Black Hills of South Dakota (Ferris and Brown 1981), 1829 m to 2743 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978), near sea level to about 1341 m elevation in Oregon (Warren 2005), to 762 m elevation in southeastern British Columbia (Threatful 1988). In Montana, reported across the state from at least 22 counties (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database), to at least 1770 m elevation. Rare to locally uncommon in one brood areas (Glassberg 2001).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Woodland openings and edges, aspen meadows, grassy riparian areas, streambanks, forest roadsides (Scott 1986; Threatful 1988; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002). Habitat in Montana not described but probably similar.
Larval food plants are native and exotic grasses, including Agrostis, Avena, Bromus (multiple species), Cynodon, Elymus (multiple species), Phleum, Poa, Schizachne, and Uniola (Scott 1986, 1992; Layberry et al. 1998; Pyle 2002; Graves and Shapiro 2003; Warren 2005; James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Apocynum, Astragalus, Fragaria, Geranium, Glecoma, Heterotheca, Jamesia, Lathyrus, Medicago, Mertensia, Oxytropis, Penstemon, Phlox, Rubus, Scutellaria, Taraxacum, Thermopsis, Trifolium, Verbena, Viola) and mud (Pyle 2002; Warren 2005; James and Nunnallee 2011; Scott 2014).
Females lay eggs singly on the undersurface of host plant leaves, often < 50 cm above ground (Scott 1986, 1992). Eggs hatch in about 6 days (depending on temperature), develop rapidly from L1 instar to L5 instar in about 26 days, then take abut another 22 days to pupate. Adults eclose (emerge) from pupae in about 8-9 days (James and Nunnallee 2011). Larvae feed on host plant leaves mostly at night, L1-L4 instars live in silk-tied shelters of rolled leaves, L5 instar rests exposed or sheltered in partially rolled leaves; overwinter as L5 instar or possibly pupae (Scott 1979, 1986, 1992; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males perch throughout the day on or near ground in narrow and shrubby or wooded valley bottoms, forest openings, waiting for 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Scott, J.A. and M.E. Epstein. 1987. Factors affecting phenology in a temperate insect community. American Midland Naturalist 117(1): 103-118.
- 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.
- Threatful, D.L. 1988. A list of the butterflies and skippers of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks, British Columbia, Canada (Lepidoptera). Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 27(3-4): 213-221.
- 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"