Chisos Skipperling (Piruna hafernicki H. A. Freeman)
Wing span: 1 inch (2.5 cm).
Identification: Upperside is blackish brown. Forewing has 3 same-sized spots at the apex and distinct oval postmedian spots; hindwing has no markings. Underside of forewing is the same as upperside; underside of hindwing is purplish gray with no markings.
Life history: Adults rest with their wings closed, but bask with hindwings open wide and forewings open to about 45 degrees. Males patrol to find receptive females. Caterpillars live and feed within nests of webbed leaves. Fully-grown caterpillars hibernate.
Flight: Several broods from March-August in Texas.
Caterpillar hosts: Not reported; probably grasses, sedges, or rushes.
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Open oak-pine woodland.
Range: Chisos Mountains, Texas; Carmen Mountains, Mexico; Hidalgo, Mexico.
Conservation: The population in Big Bend National Park should be monitored and its habitat requirements ascertained.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G1 - Critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences, or very few remaining individuals), or because of some factor of its biology making it especially vulnerable to extinction. (Critically endangered throughout its range).
Management needs: Take action as necessary.
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