Nysa Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes nysa W. H. Edwards)
Wing span: 3/4 - 1 3/16 inches (1.9 - 3 cm).
Identification: Fringes are checkered black and white. Upperside is black with 3-5 small white spots on the forewing tip. Underside of hindwing is patterned with patches of brown, gray, and black.
Life history: Adults fly very close to the ground and often rest on bare spots. Males perch at the bottom of gulches to await receptive females. Females lay eggs randomly on the host plants, usually in the late afternoon. Caterpillars eat leaves and make shelters of rolled and tied leaves, then pupate in a silk-lined leaf case in litter at the base of a grass clump.
Flight: Three broods from March-October; several broods throughout the year in South Texas.
Caterpillar hosts: Various grasses including St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum), crab grass (Digitaria sanguinalis), bristlegrass (Setaria glauca), barnyard grass (Echinochloa pungens), and green spangletop (Leptochloa dubia).
Adult food: Nectar from low-growing flowers including blue spiraea, marigold, lima bean, and cantaloupe.
Habitat: Open areas including dry rocky ravines, woodland edges, desert grasslands, yards, and gardens.
Range: Southeastern Nebraska, Kansas, and western Missouri; south through Oklahoma and Texas to northern Mexico; west to southeast Colorado, southern New Mexico, and southern Arizona.
Conservation: Not usually required.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: None reported.
Bailowitz, R. A., and J. P. Brock. 1991. Butterflies of southeastern Arizona. Sonoran Arthropod Studies, Inc., Tucson, Arizona. 342 pages. Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates. Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates. Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Denver and Fort Collins, CO. Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.