North American Butterflies and Moths List

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

The Registry of Nature Habitats

U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Washington

Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides)
JPG -- species photo

Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides [Boisduval])

Wing span: 1 - 1 1/4 inches (2.5 - 3.2 cm).

Identification: Upperside is orange with toothed brown borders. Forewing has a black stigma (male) or a black diagonal band (female). Hindwing has a large reddish patch. Underside varies from yellow to reddish to brown; hindwing varies from unmarked to having a distinct band of cream to yellow spots.

Life history: Males perch on ridges in California and in gullies in Colorado to await females. First-stage caterpillars hibernate, complete their feeding the next spring, diapause in the summer as fully-grown caterpillars, then pupate and emerge as adults in the fall.

Flight: One brood from late July-October.

Caterpillar hosts: Various grasses including Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), canary grass (Phalaris), wildrye (Elymus), and wheatgrass (Agropyron).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Grassy areas in chaparral, sagebrush, woodland, gardens, and small streams.

Range: Very common. British Columbia south to southern California; east to Montana, Colorado, and Arizona.

Conservation: Not usually required.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may 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.

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:

Hinchliff, J. 1996. The Distribution of the Butterflies of Washington. 
     Evergreen Aurelians. Oregon State University Bookstore, Corvallis.

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.

Pyle, R.M. 1974. Watching Washington Butterflies. Seattle Audubon Society, 
     Seattle, Wash.

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.
Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides)
distribution map
map legend

Return to species list
Return to Butterflies of North America main page