common sootywing (Pholisora catullus)
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed.
FAMILY: Skippers (Hesperiidae)
SUBFAMILY: Spread-wing Skippers (Pyrginae)
IDENTIFICATION: Upperside is glossy black with small white spots on
outer third of forewing. Female has more white spots on the forewing
than the male, and a submarginal row of spots on the hindwing.
Underside of forewing repeats the upperside; hindwing is solid black.
LIFE HISTORY: Adults bask with the wings spread open. To find receptive
females, males patrol near the ground in sunny places; mating takes place
in the morning and afternoon. Near midday, females lay eggs singly on
the tops of host plant leaves. Caterpillars live and feed within shelters of
folded leaves. Caterpillars of the second brood overwinter in their silk-
lined leaf shelters and pupate within them in the spring.
FLIGHT: Two broods; from May-August in the north, March-November
WING SPAN: 1 - 1 5/16 inches (2.5 - 3.3 cm).
CATERPILLAR HOSTS: Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album),
amaranths (Amaranthus), and cockscomb (Celosia).
ADULT FOOD: Nectar from many flowers including dogbane, marjoram,
oxalis, white clover, common milkweed, peppermint, cucumber, and
HABITAT: Open or disturbed areas such as landfills, vacant lots, gardens,
roadsides, fields, and pastures.
RANGE: Central United States south to central Mexico. Strays and colonizes
to southern British Columbia, northern Michigan, southern Quebec, and
southern Maine. Does not occur in peninsular Florida.
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.
Crooked Run Valley