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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Mohave Sootywing - Hesperopsis libya

Native Species

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: SNR

Agency Status


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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.4-1.5 cm. Margins uncheckered. Uppersurface brownish-black with a white submarginal bar on forewing apex; white submarginal band of male, white postmedian band of female, white cell spot of both sexes present or absent. Undersurface with gray forewing apex, gray hindwing with white spotting; male lack costal fold.

One flight, July to early August in North Dakota and Montana; two flights June through August in Colorado; many flights, March through October in California (Scott 1986). June to early August in one flight areas, March through October in two flight areas (Glassberg 2001). June and July in most of Rocky Mountain states, April to October in Utah (Ferris and Brown 1981). Mid-July to early August in North Dakota (McCabe and Post 1976), early July to early August in Oregon (Pyle 2002; Warren 2005).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by a combination of dark brownish-black uppersurface, white submarginal bar on uppersurface of forewing apex, undersurface of hindwing grayish with large white spots.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Southeastern Oregon, southwestern Idaho, eastern Montana, western North Dakota south through Wyoming, western Colorado, intermountain western US and southern California to northwestern New Mexico and northern Mexico (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); up to 1980 m elevation in the Rocky Mountain states and Intermountain West (Ferris and Brown 1981), to at least 1341 m elevation in Oregon (Warren 2005). In Montana, reported from nine eastern counties between Richland County in the north and Carter County in the south, west to Carbon County (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database, to at least 1326 m elevation. Rare to uncommon (Glassberg 2001).


Alkali flats, saltbush concentrations, sagebrush desert, desert hills, shale barrens, watercourses, ravines (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). Habitat in Montana not described but probably similar, and includes badlands (FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database).

Food Habits
Limited information. Larval food plants are members of the Chenopodiaceae, particularly Atriplex canescens, proabaly Atriplex confertifolia, which is eaten in captivity (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986, 1992; Warren 2005). Adults feed on flower nectar, including Centaurea, Chrysothamnus, and Medicago (Warren 2005; Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Limited information. Females lay eggs singly on uppersurface of host plant leaves. Larvae feed on host plant leaves, live in silk-tied leaf-tube nests (Scott 1986, 1992). Males patrol in morning and early afternoon in gullies around host plants in search of passing females (Scott 1975b, 1986).

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Citation for data on this website:
Mohave Sootywing — Hesperopsis libya.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from