Carus Skipper (Polites carus [W. H. Edwards])
Wing span: 1 - 1 1/4 inches (2.5 - 3.2 cm).
Identification: Fringes are pale but not white. Upperside is brownish orange. Forewing has white or yellowish spots which are larger in the female; male forewing has a narrow black stigma. Underside is light brown with paler veins.
Life history: Adults have a low, rapid flight. To await females, males perch in the afternoon on flat bare ground near grasses.
Flight: Several broods from March-September (three broods along the Arizona-Mexico border).
Caterpillar hosts: Probably a variety of grasses (Poaceae).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers including milkweed (Asclepias) and Cnidoscolus.
Habitat: Grassy areas in deserts and oak-pinyon woodland, and along washes and small streams.
Range: Uncommon in three separate populations: Southern California; southern Arizona east to southwest Texas; Mexico.
Conservation: Not usually required.
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.
Bailowitz, R. A., and J. P. Brock. 1991. Butterflies of southeastern Arizona. Sonoran Arthropod Studies, Inc., Tucson, Arizona. 342 pages. 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.