Simius Roadside Skipper (Amblyscirtes simius) (W.H. Edwards, 1881)
Diagnosis: This very small skipper (wingspan: 21 to 23 mm) is dull brown on the upperside, with a median band of pale spots across the forewing and a partial band on the hindwing. There is a small dark stigma in the male. The wing fringes are white. Beneath, the hindwing and the tip of the forewing are grey, each crossed by a pale band.
Range: Amblyscirtes simius occurs in a narrow band of states extending from Texas to North Dakota. It has been recorded in Canada three times in southern Saskatchewan.
Similar Species: The Pepper and Salt Skipper (A. hegon) and the Common Roadside Skipper (A. vialis) have white upperside spots on the forewing, and Oslar's Roadside Skipper (A. oslari) lacks the distinctive pale band on the upperside. [compare images]
Early Stages: Larvae are undescribed. The foodplant is Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis).
Abundance: Uncommon in the U.S., the Simius Roadside Skipper is very rare in Canada.
Flight Season: There is one flight per year, from midJune to early July, along the Canadian border; there are several farther south.
Habits: Amblyscirtes simius is restricted to very dry, native short-grass prairie habitat.
Remarks: The first Canadian record was of a fresh male captured by Ronald Hooper near Rosefield, Saskatchewan, on 27 June 1968, on dry prairie slopes along the Frenchman River Valley. Scott (1986) is one of a large number of authors, dating back as far as 1916, who have concluded, on various grounds, that simius does not really belong in the genus Amblyscirtes, but as yet no one has named anew genus for it.
© 2002. This material is reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.
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