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Butterflies of Colorado -- Pyrgus albescens

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Colorado

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, F.M., Eff, J.D., and B. Rotger. 1957. Colorado Butterflies. Denver 
     Museum of Natural History, Denver.

Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown. 1980. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. 
     University of Oklahoma Press. Norman.

Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998.  The Butterflies of 
     Canada.  University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON.  280 pp. 

Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised 
     edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.

Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. 
     Privately published, Denver, Colo.

Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. 
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.
White Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus albescens)
distribution map
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