"Tyrtaeus" Violet-patched Skipper (Monca telata tyrtaeus [Plötz])
Wing span: 3/4 - 7/8 inches (1.9 - 2.2 cm).
Identification: Upperside is dark brown. Underside of forewing is reddish with a gray patch at the tip and a white spot on the leading edge. Underside of hindwing has 2 gray bands.
Life history: Adults fly swiftly, most often at dawn and dusk. Adults rest with their wings closed, but bask with hindwings open wide and forewings open to about 45 degrees. Males perch to find receptive females. Caterpillars live in shelters of webbed leaves.
Flight: Several broods throughout the year in South Texas.
Caterpillar hosts: Paspalum grass.
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Shady, grassy areas in thorn scrub.
Range: Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas south through Mexico and Central America to Colombia.
Conservation: Not required for a periodic stray and colonist.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: None reported.
Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 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: 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.