North American Butterflies and Moths List

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U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Nebraska

Green Skipper (Hesperia viridis)
JPG -- species photo

Green Skipper (Hesperia viridis [W. H. Edwards])

Wing span: 1 - 1 1/2 inches (2.5 - 3.8 cm).

Identification: Upperside is bright golden-orange; male has a few pale spots on the forewing, female has more. Male stigma on forewing has black felt. Hindwing is bright green-orange to yellow-orange with distinct white spots. Spot band curves away from the margin.

Life history: To wait for receptive females, males perch in gulches during the day. Females lay eggs singly on or near the host plants. Caterpillars feed on leaves and live in nests of tied-together leaves.

Flight: Two broods from April-October.

Caterpillar hosts: Various grasses including blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), fluff grass (Erioneuron pulchellum), and buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Mesquite grassland, chaparral, prairie, canyons, ravines, roadsides, dunes.

Range: Eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska south through the foothills and high plains of Colorado, western Kansas, eastern Arizona, New Mexico, western Oklahoma, and west Texas to 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.


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:

Dankert, N., Nagel, H., and T. Nightengale. 1993. Butterfly Distribution Maps- 
     Nebraska. University of Nebraska, Kearney.

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.

Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. 
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.
Green Skipper (Hesperia viridis)
distribution map
map legend

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