North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Nevada

Nevada Skipper (Hesperia nevada)
JPG -- species photo

Nevada Skipper (Hesperia nevada [Scudder])

Wing span: 1 1/8 - 1 7/16 inches (2.9 - 3.7 cm).

Identification: Antennae Upperside is reddish orange with diffuse dark borders and some large pale spots. Male forewing has black felt inside the stigma. Underside of the hindwing of both sexes is golden-green to gray-green with an irregular band of white spots; the basal spot may be offset inward.

Life history: To await receptive females, males perch on tops of hills or on logs or rocks in flat meadows. Females lay eggs singly on or near the host plant. Caterpillars live in silken tubes at the base of grass clumps and feed on grass leaves nearby. They overwinter in partially-buried shelters.

Flight: One brood from late May to early August, the timing depending on elevation and latitude.

Caterpillar hosts: Western needlegrass (Stipa occidentalis) and perhaps squirrel-tail grass (Sitanion hystrix).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Sagebrush, grasslands, aspen parks, mountain summits; from 7000 - 12,000 feet in elevation.

Range: Southern British Columbia east across the prairie provinces to southern Manitoba; south in the western mountains to California, Nevada, Arizona, and New 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:

Emmel, T.C. Editor. 1998. Systematics of western North American butterflies.
     Mariposa Press, Gainesville, Florida.

Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998.  The Butterflies of 
     Canada.  University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON.  280 pp. 

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.
Nevada Skipper (Hesperia nevada)
distribution map
map legend

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