Tropical Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus oileus [Linnaeus])
Wing span: 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 inches (3.2 - 3.8 cm).
Identification: Upperside is dark brown with pale markings; male forewing has a mat of long blue-gray hairs; hindwing of both sexes has marginal and submarginal bands made up of equal-sized spots. Underside of hindwing is pale, often with a strong brown overlay; not much contrast between bands and ground color.
Life history: Males perch and patrol for receptive females. Eggs are laid singly on the uppersides of host plant leaves. Caterpillars feed and live in the shelter of a webbed leaf.
Flight: Four to five broods throughout the year in South Texas and Florida.
Caterpillar hosts: Several plants in the mallow family (Malvaceae) including axocatzin (Sida rhombifolia), mallow (Malva), hollyhock (Althaea rosea), velvet-leaf (Abutilon), and malva loca (Malvastrum).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers of Sidas and small-flowered composites such as shepherd's needles.
Habitat: Open, sunny areas including pastures, brushy fields, wooded trails, thorn-scrub, and roadsides.
Range: Peninsular Florida, the Gulf Coast, and South Texas south through the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America to Argentina.
Conservation: Not usually required.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: None reported.
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.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.