Small-spotted Skipperling (Piruna microstictus [Godman])
Wing span: 7/8 - 1 inch (2.2 - 2.5 cm).
Identification: Upperside is deep chestnut brown; forewing with small white spots, hindwing with 3-4 spots. Underside is chestnut brown and has small scattered white spots with black outlines.
Life history: Adults rest with their wings closed, but bask with hindwings open wide and forewings open to about 45 degrees. Males patrol to find receptive females. Caterpillars live and feed within nests of webbed leaves. Fully-grown caterpillars hibernate.
Flight: One brood; October in South Texas, June-August in Mexico.
Caterpillar hosts: Not reported; probably grasses, sedges, or rushes.
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Arid subtropical chaparral and open woodland.
Range: From north to central Mexico. A rare stray to South Texas.
Conservation: Not required for a rare stray.
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.
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.