North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of California

Common Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes vialis)
JPG -- species photo

Common Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes vialis [W. H. Edwards])

Wing span: 7/8 - 1 1/4 inches (2.2 - 3.2 cm).

Identification: Upperside is black with a few small white spots at the tip of the forewing. Underside is dark brown with violet-gray at the forewing tip and the outer half of the hindwing.

Life history: To await receptive females, males perch on the ground or low plants in forest openings or edges, waving their antennae in small circles. Females deposit eggs singly on the host plants; caterpillars eat leaves, and make shelters of rolled and tied leaves. Caterpillars hibernate.

Flight: One brood from March-July; a partial second brood up to September in the south.

Caterpillar hosts: Various grasses including wild oats (Avena), bent grass (Agrostis), bluegrass (Poa), Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), and Indian woodoats grass (Chasmanthium latifolia).

Adult food: These skippers prefer nectar from low-growing blue flowers including verbena and selfheal.

Habitat: Open areas in or near woodland, often close to streams.

Range: The Roadside Skipper is the most widespread skipper in North America. It occurs from British Columbia east across southern Canada to Maine and Nova Scotia; south to central California, northern New Mexico, Texas, the Gulf states, and northern Florida.

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.

References:


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:


Brown, J.W., Real, H.G., and D.K. Faulkner. 1992. Butterflies of Baja 

     California. Lepidoptera Research Foundation, Beverly Hills, Calif.



Comstock, J.A. 1927. Butterflies of California. Privately published, Los 

     Angeles, Calif. [Facsimile available from 	Entomological Reprint 

     Specialists, Los Angeles, Calif.]



Dameron, W. 1997. Searching for butterflies in southern California.

     Flutterby Press, Los Angeles, Calif.



Emmel, T.C. Editor. 1998. Systematics of western North American butterflies.

     Mariposa Press, Gainesville, Florida.



Emmel, T. C. and J. F. Emmel. 1973. The Butterflies of Southern California. 

     Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Science Series No. 26.



Garth, J.S. and J.W. Tilden. 1986. California Butterflies.  California Natural

     History Guide 51. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los 

     Angeles.

     

Langston, R.L. 1981. The Rhopalocera of Santa Cruz Island, California. Journal

     of Research on the Lepidoptera 18: 24-35.     



Miller, Scott E. 1985. Butterflies of the Califorenia Channel Islands. Journal

     of the Research on the Lepidoptera 23: 282-296.     



Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised 

     edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.



Orsak, L.J. 1977. The Butterflies of Orange County, California. Museum of 

     Systematic Biology, University of california, Irvine.



Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. 

     Privately published, Denver, Colo.



Steiner, J. 1990. Bay Area Butterflies: The Distribution and Natural History 

     of San Francisco Region Rhopalocera. Hayward, Calif.: Hayward State 

     University, Masters Thesis.



Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. 

     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.



Tilden, J.W. 1965. Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay Region. California 

     Natural History Guide 12. University of California Press, Berkeley and 

     Los Angeles.

Common Roadside-Skipper (Amblyscirtes vialis)
distribution map
map legend

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