Small Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus scriptura) (Boisduval, 1852)

Diagnosis: Much smaller than the other checkered skippers (wingspan: 16 to 22 mm), P. scriptura resembles closely a small Two-banded Checkered Skipper (P. ruralis) The ground colour is slightly more brownish, and the white spots are even smaller and more widely separated. The males lack the costal fold of all other Canadian Pyrgus.

Range: Pyrgus scriptura ranges in the U.S. from Texas to Montana, just reaching into southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan.

Specimen collection data

Similar Species: The Two-banded Checkered Skipper (P. ruralis). [compare images]

Early Stages: The early stages are undescribed. Foodplants are various herbaceous Malvaceae, including Alkali Mallow (Sida hederacea) in the U.S.

Abundance: This species can be fairly common in the U.S., but has been recorded only twice in Canada.

Flight Season: There are two flights in the northern tier of states, in May and from July to mid-August.

Habits: Pyrgus scriptura flies in open grassland in Colorado, and has been taken in dry prairie ravines in Canada.

Remarks: There are only two Canadian records, a specimen taken by D.F. Hardwick on 23 July 1951 in Lost River Coulee, Manyberries, Alberta (in the Canadian National Collection), and one taken by R.R. Hooper on 19 May 1983 near Rosefield, Saskatchewan (in the Royal Saskatchewan Museum).

© 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.