White Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus albescens Plötz)
Wing span: 1 - 1 1/2 inches (2.5 - 3.8 cm).
Identification: Paler than Pyrgus communis. Male often has complete black checks in wing fringes. Upperside of male is blue-gray; female is black. Both sexes have large white spots which form median bands across both wings. Male has a costal fold enclosing scent scales on the upperside of the forewing. Underside is dull white with dark gray bands. Positive identification can be made only by dissection and scrutiny of the male genitalia.
Life history: Similar to that of Common Checkered-skipper.
Flight: All year in South Texas, most of the year elsewhere.
Caterpillar hosts: Not reliably reported. Probably several plants in the mallow family (Malvaceae) including globemallows (Sphaeralcea), velvet-leaf (Abutilon), and poppy mallow (Callirhoe).
Adult food: Nectar from a variety of plants.
Habitat: Open, sunny places with low vegetation and some bare soil including prairies, fields, roadsides, yards, gardens, and low deserts.
Range: Low altitudes in southern California, southern Arizona, southern New Mexico, west and South Texas; Florida, and Mexico. A rare stray to southwest Utah, and central Texas.
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.
Bailowitz, R. A., and J. P. Brock. 1991. Butterflies of southeastern Arizona. Sonoran Arthropod Studies, Inc., Tucson, Arizona. 342 pages. Emmel, T.C. and J.F. Emmel. 1973. The butterflies of southern California. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles. 148 pages. Garth, J.S. and J.W. Tilden. 1986.California Butterflies. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles. 246 pp, 24 plates. Neck, R.W. 1996. A field guide to butterflies of Texas. Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, Texas. 323 pp. Opler, P.A. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 540 pages, 44 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.
Author: Paul A. Opler
State and Regional References:
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.