North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Montana

Mohave Sootywing (Hesperopsis libya)
JPG -- species photo

Mohave Sootywing (Hesperopsis libya [Scudder])

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

Identification: Fringes are white and not checkered. Upperside is dark brown with 2 rows of small white spots on the forewing; hindwing may have some white spots. Underside of hindwing is light to dark brown with a pale gray overlay and few to many white spots.

Life history: To find receptive females, males patrol around the host plants in the morning. Females lay eggs singly on leaves of the host plants. Caterpillars feed on leaves and live in nests of leaves tied together with silk.

Flight: One brood in North Dakota and Montana from July-August; two broods in Colorado from June-August; several broods in southern California from March-October.

Caterpillar hosts: Shadscale (Atriplex canescens) in the goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Desert washes and alkali flats with shadscale.

Range: Eastern Oregon east to Montana; south to southern California, Arizona, Baja California, and northwestern mainland Mexico.

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.


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:

Elrod, M.J. 1906. The Butterflies of Montana. Bulletin of the University of
     Montana 30: 1-174.

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.
Mohave Sootywing (Hesperopsis libya)
distribution map
map legend

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