Northern White-Skipper (Heliopetes ericetorum [Boisduval])
Wing span: 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 inches (3.2 - 3.8 cm).
Identification: Upperside of male is white with narrow black chevrons at the outer margins of wings; female has thicker, darker markings and black at the wing bases. Underside of both sexes is white with pale tan markings.
Life history: To find females, males patrol in canyon bottoms. Females deposit eggs singly on young leaves of the host plants. Caterpillars feed on leaves and live in shelters of rolled or tied leaves.
Flight: Several broods from April-October.
Caterpillar hosts: Various mallows including globemallows (Sphaeralcea), hollyhock (Althaea), and mallow (Malva).
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Open woodland, chaparral, dry washes, desert mountains, arid land.
Range: Eastern Washington south to western Colorado, southern California, Arizona, Baja California, and northwest Mexico.
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.
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.