Saltbush Sootywing (Hesperopsis alpheus [W. H. Edwards])
Wing span: 3/4 - 1 1/4 inches (2 - 3.2 cm).
Identification: Fringes are checkered. Upperside is black. Forewing has a mottled gray pattern and a row of dark bars near the outer margin. Hindwing may have pale spots. Underside is black; hindwing with small pale spots.
Life history: To find receptive females, males patrol all day around the host plants and in gulches. Caterpillars eat leaves and make shelters of rolled leaves.
Flight: Two broods from May-September.
Caterpillar hosts: Shadscale (Atriplex canescens) and quail brush (Atriplex lentiformis) in the goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae).
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Desert washes, alkali flats, arid canyons.
Range: Nevada east to Colorado; south to southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, and Chihuahua, 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