North American Butterflies and Moths List

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The Registry of Nature Habitats

U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Northern Mexico

Columbian Skipper (Hesperia columbia)
JPG -- species photo

Columbian Skipper (Hesperia columbia [Scudder])

Wing span: 7/8 - 1 5/16 inches (2.2 - 3.4 cm).

Identification: Above bright orange or dark orange with surrounding dark areas. Underside of hindwing with chevron limited to small bright white spots only in portion closest to inner margin of hindwing.

Life history: Males perch on hilltops to await females.

Flight: March to June, September to October (2 flights).

Caterpillar hosts: Grass (Koehleria cristata).

Adult food: Nectar from various flowers.

Habitat: Chaparral, edges and hilltops in or near chaparral.

Range: Southwest Oregon south through Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada foothills of California to Baja California Norte.

Conservation: Habitats within range susceptible to invasion by alien Mediterranean weeds and housing development.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: : G3G4 - Very rare or local throughout its range or found locally in a restricted range OR Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.

Management needs: No specific needs reported.


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. 

MacNeill, C.D. 1975. Skippers (Hesperioidea). In: W.H. Howe, editor. Butterflies 
     of North America. Doubleday and Co., Garden City, New York, 633 pages.

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:

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.
Columbian Skipper (Hesperia columbia)
distribution map
map legend

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