A Guide to the Insects of the Coal Oil Point Reserve


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Funded in part by the UCSB Pearl Chase Fund

Last updated 08/15/2005
  Insects of Coal Oil Point > Guide > Lepidoptera > Hesperiidae - Skippers

Hesperiidae - Skippers

 


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Pyrgus albescens | Heliopetes ericitorum | Erynnis funeralis | Polites sabuleti | Hylephila phylaeus | Ochlodes sylvanoides | Panoquina errans 


Skipper Photos
(click to enlarge)

Pyrgus albescens - White Checkered Skipper

upperside

underside


Size: wingspread 1-1.25 in.

Recognition: Variably gray-brown above, with irregular white band across both wings; underside irregularly brown and white banded; fringes are checkered brown and white; top of head is bald and shiny black.

Flight period: Adults may be seen all year with a peak flight time from February to October.

Hostplants: Larvae feed on a variety of mallows (Malvaceae), including Sida and globemallow (Sphaeralcea).

Habitat: Often found in disturbed areas where their mallow hostplants grow, including vacant urban lots and agricultural areas.

Distribution: Occurs across the southern U.S. into Mexico.



Heliopetes ericitorum - Northern White Skipper

male upperside

male underside

female upperside

female underside


Size: wingspread 1-1.5 in.

Recognition: Male upperside white with brown arrowheads along wing margins; female is dark with irregular white band down both wings; undersides of both sexes light with tan markings and white wing fringes.

Flight period: Adults are active from April to October.

Hostplants: Larvae eat a variety of mallows (Malvaceae), such as bushmallow (Malacothamnus), globemallow (Sphaeralcea), hollycock (Althaea), and mallow (Malva).

Habitat: The Northern White Skipper may be seen in drier habitats, such as chaparral and dry washes

Distribution: Found throughout most of California, extending east and north into the Great Basin.

Other: These speedy fliers are also avid flower visitors, and males will patrol canyons for mates.



Erynnis funeralis - Funereal Duskywing

upperside

underside


Size: wingspread 1.25-1.5 in.

Recognition: Dark brown to black, with inconspicuous grey spots on FW above; male with tan scent scales along leading edge of FW; HW only with white fringes; very difficult to distinguish from other duskywings in the field.

Flight period: Adults are active much of the year. February to October.

Hostplants: Larvae feed on a variety of legumes (Fabaceae), such as deerweed (Lotus), vetch (Vicia) and even cultivated alfalfa.

Habitat: Open, arid settings such as washes rocky hilltops; can be seen in urban gardens.

Distribution: Occurs across the southern U.S., south into Mexico.

Other: This is the most common and widespread Duskywing in southern California, and can often be seen nectaring on flowers.



Polites sabuleti - Sandhill Skipper

male upperside

male underside

female upperside

female underside


Size: wingspread 0.75-1.25 in.

Recognition: A variable species, brown to orange to yellow above, male with FW slash (stigma); underside of HW with characteristic 'rays' extending from lighter patches along veins.

Flight period: Adults active from late spring to early fall.

Hostplants: Larvae eat a variety of grasses, including salt grass and Bermuda grass.

Habitat: Found in many habitats, particularly sandy dunes and saltmarshes along the coast, as well as open areas in urban and montane locales.

Distribution: The Sandhill Skipper extends throughout much of the western U.S.



Hylephila phylaeus - Fiery Skipper

male upperside

male underside

female upperside

female underside


Size: wingspread 1.25-1.25 in.

Recognition: Sexually dimorphic; male is yellow-orange above, with brown edges, female predominantly dark above; underside of hindwings orange, with arc of small dark spots, those of female much paler, with dark spots at outer edges of clearly lighter band; antennae short.

Flight period: Adults active much of the year, passing through multiple generations.

Hostplants: Larvae feed on weedy grasses such as crabgrass and Bermuda grass (Cynodon).

Habitat: Found in various open, such as sunny fields and forest edges; very common in urban areas, such as lawns and parks.

Distribution: The range of this skipper extends through the southern half of the U.S., south into Mexico.

Other: The Fiery Skipper one of the most common urban butterflies in our area.



Ochlodes sylvanoides - Woodland Skipper

male upperside

male underside

female upperside

female underside


Size: wingspread 0.75-1.25 in.

Recognition: Orange to yellow-orange with dark borders, male with dark slash in middle of FW; underside HW is uniform yellow-brown; rounded FW tips.

Flight period: Flies from June through October, they can be quite common starting in late summer.

Hostplants: Various grasses are eaten by the larvae.

Habitat: This skipper may be seen in the foothills, chaparral, grassy fields, and other open spaces.

Distribution: The Woodland Skipper is found over much of the western U.S. In Santa Barbara County it is present both on the mainland and on Santa Cruz Island.

Other: This skipper is an uncharacteristically slow and lazy skipper, and can frequently be spotted nectaring for long periods.



Panoquina errans - Wandering Skipper

upperside

underside


Size: wingspread 1-1.25 in.

Recognition: Dark brown with creamy yellow spots in FW; underside is also dark brown with more yellow spots and sometimes yellow vein linings.

Flight period: July through September.

Hostplants: Larvae of the Wandering Skipper eat salt grass (Distichlis spicata).

Habitat: Where salt grass is found, near the upper portions of coastal salt marshes.

Distribution: From Santa Barbara County south into Baja California and coastal areas of mainland Mexico.

Other: As coastal salt marshes have become degraded, the Wandering Skipper has become relatively rare in southern California.


 
 

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