North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of Northern Mexico

Purple-washed Skipper (Panoquina leucas)
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Purple-washed Skipper (Panoquina leucas [Herrich-Schäffer])

Wing span: 1 3/16 - 1 3/4 inches (3 - 4.5 cm).

Identification: Upperside is dark brown with some pale spots; male forewing has an elongated spot in the cell. Underside of hindwing is dull brown with a straight line of blue or white spots. Female has a blue or purple sheen.

Life history: Caterpillars feed on leaves.

Flight: Several broods; August-December in South Texas, throughout the year in Mexico.

Caterpillar hosts: Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum), rice (Oryza sativa), Johnson grass (Sorghum halepense), and other grasses.

Adult food: Flower nectar including that from Lantana.

Habitat: Openings in subtropical scrub, forest edges, and nearby fields.

Range: Argentina north through tropical America and the West Indies to northern Mexico. A regular stray north to the lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas; rarely to central Texas and southeast 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.


Bailowitz, R. A., and J. P. Brock. 1991. Butterflies of southeastern Arizona. 
     Sonoran Arthropod Studies, Inc., Tucson, Arizona. 342 pages.

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. 

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.
Purple-washed Skipper (Panoquina leucas)
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