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Butterflies of California -- Pyrgus albescens

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of California

White Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus albescens)
JPG -- species photo

White Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus albescens Plötz)

Wing span: 1 - 1 1/2 inches (2.5 - 3.8 cm).

Identification: Paler than Pyrgus communis. Male often has complete black checks in wing fringes. Upperside of male is blue-gray; female is black. Both sexes have large white spots which form median bands across both wings. Male has a costal fold enclosing scent scales on the upperside of the forewing. Underside is dull white with dark gray bands. Positive identification can be made only by dissection and scrutiny of the male genitalia.

Life history: Similar to that of Common Checkered-skipper.

Flight: All year in South Texas, most of the year elsewhere.

Caterpillar hosts: Not reliably reported. Probably several plants in the mallow family (Malvaceae) including globemallows (Sphaeralcea), velvet-leaf (Abutilon), and poppy mallow (Callirhoe).

Adult food: Nectar from a variety of plants.

Habitat: Open, sunny places with low vegetation and some bare soil including prairies, fields, roadsides, yards, gardens, and low deserts.

Range: Low altitudes in southern California, southern Arizona, southern New Mexico, west and South Texas; Florida, and Mexico. A rare stray to southwest Utah, and central Texas.

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:

Bailowitz, R. A., and J. P. Brock. 1991. Butterflies of southeastern Arizona. 
     Sonoran Arthropod Studies, Inc., Tucson, Arizona. 342 pages.

Emmel, T.C. and J.F. Emmel. 1973. The butterflies of southern California. Natural 
     History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles. 148 pages.

Garth, J.S. and J.W. Tilden. 1986.California Butterflies. University of California 
     Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles. 246 pp, 24 plates.

Neck, R.W. 1996. A field guide to butterflies of Texas. Gulf Publishing Co., 
     Houston, Texas. 323 pp.

Opler, P.A. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies.  Houghton-Mifflin Co., 
     Boston, Mass. 540 pages, 44 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: Paul A. Opler

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.
White Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus albescens)
distribution map
map legend

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