North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of New Mexico

Short-tailed Skipper (Zestusa dorus)
JPG -- species photo

Short-tailed Skipper (Zestusa dorus [W. H. Edwards])

Wing span: 1 3/8 - 1 5/8 inches (3.5 - 4.2 cm).

Identification: Hindwing tails are short. Upperside is brown with prominent clear spots on both forewing and hindwing. Underside is speckled with brown and gray; clear spots are not so obvious.

Life history: To seek females, males perch on trees on hilltops. Females lay eggs singly on leaves or buds of host plants. Caterpillars live in shelters of rolled leaves and feed on leaves. Chrysalids hibernate.

Flight: Possibly two flights in Arizona from April-July; one flight in Colorado from May-June.

Caterpillar hosts: Arizona oak (Quercus arizonica), Emory oak (Q. emoryi), and others.

Adult food: Sap and spittlebug secretions.

Habitat: Juniper-oak woodland.

Range: Southwest Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, west Texas, and 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.


Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, 
     Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.

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:

Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown. 1980. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. 
     University of Oklahoma Press. Norman.

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.

Add Toliver, M., Holland, R., and S.J. Cary. 1996. Distributional data
     for New Mexico Butterflies. Privately published. Albuquerque, N.M.
Short-tailed Skipper (Zestusa dorus)
distribution map
map legend

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