Purplish-black Skipper (Nisoniades rubescens [Möschler])
Wing span: 1 - 1 7/16 inches (2.5 - 3.7 cm).
Identification: Upperside is mottled black; forewing has tiny white subapical spots.
Life history: Females deposit eggs on the upperside of host plant leaves.
Flight: October-November in South Texas; July-November in Mexico.
Caterpillar hosts: Wild morning glories (Ipomoea) in the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae).
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Tropical, usually in lowlands.
Range: Brazil north through tropical America to northern Mexico. Occasionally strays to the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas.
Conservation: Not necessary for a rare stray.
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.
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.
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.