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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Garita Skipperling - Oarisma garita

Native Species

Global Rank: G4G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status


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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Layberry et al. 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.1-1.3 cm. Small, wing fringes white. Uppersurface without markings, varies from black to orange, veins often darker than background, forewing with white costal margin; undersurface without markings, forewing largely orange with blackish trailing edge, hindwing light brown with whitish veins, anal fold bright tawny.

One flight, mostly mid-June through July, June to mid-July at low elevation (Scott 1986). June to mid-August (Glassberg 2001). Mid-June to mid-July in Canada (Layberry et al. 1998). June and July in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981). Early June to early August in Colorado (Emmel 1964; Scott and Scott 1978; Scott and Epstein 1987), mid-June to early July in western Nebraska and North Dakota (Johnson and Nixon 1967; McCabe and Post 1976), early June to early August in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002), mid-June to mid-July in Oregon (Warren 2005), mid-June to mid-July in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by a combination of small size, white wing fringes, uppersurface dark to orange with darker veins; undersurface of forewing largely orange with blackish trailing edge, hindwing light brown with whitish veins.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Northeastern and southeastern British Columbia east to central Ontario, south through eastern Washington, northeastern Oregon, the Rocky Mountain region to southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, northern Mexico (Scott 1986; Layberry et al. 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Guppy and Shepard 2001); Up to 3048 m elevation in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981), 1676 m to 3200 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978), to at least 915 m elevation in Oregon (Warren 2005). In Montana, reported throughout the state from at least 45 counties (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database), to at least 2000 m elevation. Common (Glassberg 2001).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 13

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)


Short-grass and mixed-grass prairie, moist prairie, streamsides, open woodlands, montane meadows, limestone openings, fields, mowed lawns, roadsides, moist pasture, weedy marshes (Emmel 1964; Scott 1986; Layberry et al. 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002; Warren 2005). Habitat in Montana not described but probably similar.

Food Habits
Larval food plants are grasses and sedges, including Agropyron (multiple species), Agrostis, Bouteloua, Bromus, Carex (multiple species), Elymus, Koeleria, Muhlenbergia (multiple species), Poa (multiple species), and Stipa (Scott 1986, 1992, 2006); also Cynodon, Lolium, and Setaria in captivity (James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Achillea, Allium, Apocynum, Arnica, Asclepias, Astragalus, Calochortus, Campanula, Carduus, Ceanothus, Cerastium, Cirsium, Cleome, Convolvulus, Coreopsis, Crepis, Erigeron, Eriogonum, Gaillardia, Geranium, Hedysarum, Heterotheca, Lappula, Linum, Lupinus, Medicago, Melilotus, Oxytropis, Penstemon, Potentilla, Rudbeckia, Sedum, Senecio, Sisymbrium, Symphoricarpos, Symphyotrichum, Tetradymia, Townsendia, Trifolium, Vicia) and mud (Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs singly on host plant leaves (undersurface) or stems, nearby vegetation, inert surfaces (Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; James and Nunnallee 2011). Eggs hatch after 7-9 days (depending on temperature), develop from L1 instar to L4 instar in about 43-50 days, L4 instar hibernates (overwinters), becomes active in spring and pupates, adults eclose (emerge from pupae) in about 7 days. Larvae feed openly on host plant leaves, build no nest, pupate on host plant stems and leaves (Scott 1979, 1986, 1992; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males patrol throughout the day low over short grass or through taller grass in meadows, valley bottoms, hillsides while searching for females (Scott 1975b, 1986; Warren 2005; James and Nunnallee 2011).

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Citation for data on this website:
Garita Skipperling — Oarisma garita.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from