Sonora Skipper (Polites sonora [Scudder])
Wing span: 1 - 1 1/4 inches (2.5 - 3.2 cm).
Identification: Upperside is reddish-orange with a wide, light brown border. Male forewing has a wide black stigma. Hindwing has a light band of separate spots; band is more diffuse in female. Underside of hindwing varies from brown to greenish-brown, and has a narrow yellow-white band which may be composed of separate spots.
Life history: To wait for females, males perch in depressions in meadows all day.
Flight: One brood from June-August.
Caterpillar hosts: Possibly Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers including white-flowered thistles.
Habitat: From sea level to 11,000 feet in coastal plains, streamsides, wet areas in high plains, and moist mountain meadows.
Range: Southern British Columbia south to southern California; east to Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado.
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.
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.