Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides [Boisduval])
Wing span: 1 - 1 1/4 inches (2.5 - 3.2 cm).
Identification: Upperside is orange with toothed brown borders. Forewing has a black stigma (male) or a black diagonal band (female). Hindwing has a large reddish patch. Underside varies from yellow to reddish to brown; hindwing varies from unmarked to having a distinct band of cream to yellow spots.
Life history: Males perch on ridges in California and in gullies in Colorado to await females. First-stage caterpillars hibernate, complete their feeding the next spring, diapause in the summer as fully-grown caterpillars, then pupate and emerge as adults in the fall.
Flight: One brood from late July-October.
Caterpillar hosts: Various grasses including Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), canary grass (Phalaris), wildrye (Elymus), and wheatgrass (Agropyron).
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Grassy areas in chaparral, sagebrush, woodland, gardens, and small streams.
Range: Very common. British Columbia south to southern California; east to Montana, Colorado, and Arizona.
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:
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.