common checkered skipper (Pyrgus communis)
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed.
FAMILY: Skippers (Hesperiidae)
SUBFAMILY: Spread-wing Skippers (Pyrginae)
IDENTIFICATION: Upperside of male is blue-gray; female is black.
Both sexes have large white spots which form median bands across both
wings. Fringes of male checkered but black checks often reach only half-
way to edge of fringe. Male has a costal fold enclosing scent scales on the
upperside of the forewing. Underside is dull white with dark gray or
olive bands. Spots of the hindwing marginal row are very small; spots
of the submarginal row are larger. This species is separated from the
white checkered skipper with confidence only by dissection and examina-
tion of the male genitalia.
LIFE HISTORY: Males patrol in swales most actively in the afternoon,
and mating takes place then. Females lay eggs singly on leaf buds and tops
of leaves. Adults roost exposed on a tall plant beginning in late afternoon.
Caterpillars make folded-leaf nests in which they live and feed, and fully-
grown caterpillars hibernate.
FLIGHT: February-October in the Deep South, March-September in the
WING SPAN: 1 - 1 1/2 inches (2.5 - 3.8 cm).
CATERPILLAR HOSTS: Several plants in the mallow family (Malvaceae)
including globemallows (Sphaeralcea), mallow (Malva), hollyhock
(Althaea), alkali mallows (Sida), velvet-leaf (Abutilon), and poppy
ADULT FOOD: Nectar from white-flowered composites including
shepherd\'s needles, fleabane, and asters; also red clover, knapweed,
beggar's ticks, and many others.
HABITAT: Open, sunny places with low vegetation and some bare soil
including prairies, meadows, fields, roadsides, landfills, yards, gardens,
pastures, openings and trails in woods.
RANGE: Most of the temperate United States south to Gulf coast, w.
Texas, se. Arizona, southern California, and mountains of northern
Mexico. Colonizes as far north as central Alberta, southern Ontario,
and southern New England. It cannot survive very cold winters and
may not be a permanent resident north of the 40th parallel.
CONSERVATION: Not usually required.
NATURESERVE GLOBAL STATUS: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally,
though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the
MANAGEMENT NEEDS: None reported.
SKY MEADOWS OCCURRENCE:
Note: Due to seasonal conditions in this region, occurrence may vary from
year to year. The designation of occurrence may range over two or more
categories and may vary even during a single season.
Key to Checklist
A Abundant: Easy to see very large numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
at proper time of year.
C Common: Usually each to see good numbers of individuals in appropriate habitat
at proper time of year.
U Uncommon: Sometimes found in appropriate habitat and proper time of year,
usually in low numbers.
O Occasional: Found in appropriate habitat perhaps only a few times a year, usually
in low numbers.
R Rare: Small chance of being found, even in appropriate habitat at proper time of
year. There are few individuals and may not be present every year.
X Extirpated: Formerly present, no longer occurs in Sky Meadows Park.
Calendar of Events
Sky Meadows Park
Crooked Run Valley