Common Checkered-Skipper

Pyrgus communis

Summary 6

The Common Checkered-skipper (Pyrgus communis) is a species of butterfly in the Hesperiidae family, subfamily Pyrginae. It is known as the frequently seen pyrgine species in the northern United States by collectors and watchers alike.

Description 7

Upper side of male is blue-gray; female is black. Both sexes have large white spots which form median bands across both wings. Fringes of male checkered but black checks often reach only halfway to edge of fringe. Male has a costal fold enclosing scent scales on the upper side of the forewing. Underside is dull white with dark gray or olive bands. Spots of the hind wing marginal row are very small; spots of the submarginal row are larger.
Wing Span: 1 - 1 1/2 inches (2.5 - 3.8 cm).

Larva Description 7

Head black with tiny white dots, face orange with a black patch in center. Prothorax black; body pale green with many tiny white dots, dark dorsal stripe and yellow dorso-lateral stripe.

Larval Host Plants 7

Several plants in the mallow family (Malvaceae) including globemallows (Sphaeralcea), mallow (Malva), hollyhock (Althaea), alkali mallows (Sida), velvet-leaf (Abutilon), and poppy mallow (Callirhoe).

GTM Occurrence 7

The Common Checkered-Skipper is considered an uncommon species at the GTM. Virtually all observations were in the open habitat along Transect A. Only one individual was observed on the Marsh Pond Overlook (Transect B). This species flies from April to November with a summer peak in July and a late fall peak in November. There have been 31 specimens observed as of December 28, 2015.

Distribution 8

Occurs throughout most the contiguous United States, except southern Florida, California, Arizona and Texas (Opler 1999). In Canada, the Common Checkered Skipper occurs from southeastern BC to southern Manitoba, and extreme southern Ontario (Layberry et al 1998). The northernmost portion of its range is the disjunct population in the Peace River grasslands; there is also an isolated record from the vicinity of Ft. MacKay (Bird et al. 1995).

Habitat 9

A generally transient species in a great variety of dry disturbed situations and some more natural ones such as short grass prairies. Low vegetation, flowers, and patches of bare ground are probably important. Strays can turn up in almost any open situation.

Nature serve conservation status 10

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Vicki DeLoach, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND),
  2. (c) Bill Bumgarner, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND),
  3. (c) Aditi, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  4. (c) Mathesont, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  5. (c) gtmresearchreserve, all rights reserved, uploaded by GTMResearchReserve,
  6. Adapted by GTMResearchReserve from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  7. (c) GTMResearchReserve, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
  8. (c) University of Alberta Museums, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  9. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),
  10. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC),

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