Moon-marked Skipper (Atrytonopsis lunus [W. H. Edwards])
Wing span: 1 5/8 - 2 inches (4.2 - 5.1 cm).
Identification: Upperside is brown with large clear spots on the forewing. Fringes on forewing are brown, those on hindwing are whitish on the upper outer margin and brown lower down. Underside of hindwing is brown with blue-gray frosting on the outer third and a dark narrow band containing 2-3 small pale spots.
Life history: Males perch in canyons to wait for receptive females.
Flight: One brood from June-August.
Caterpillar hosts: At least muhly (Muhlenbergia) in the grass family (Poaceae).
Adult food: Flower nectar from a variety of flowers including thistles (Cirsium) and Agave.
Habitat: Moderate elevations in the mountains, thorny desert grassland, and open woodland.
Range: Local and uncommon in southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northern Mexico.
Conservation: Populations should be conserved wherever found.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G3 - Very rare or local throughout its range or found locally in a restricted range (21 to 100 occurrences). (Threatened throughout its range).
Management needs: None reported.
Bailowitz, R. A., and J. P. Brock. 1991. Butterflies of southeastern Arizona. Sonoran Arthropod Studies, Inc., Tucson, Arizona. 342 pages. 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:
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.