Southern Cloudywing (Thorybes bathyllus) (J.E. Smith, 1797)

Diagnosis:Thorybes bathyllus is a medium-sized (wingspan: 32 to 38 mm) very dark brown skipper, with small white spots on the forewings. Two groups of spots touch the costa and most of the remaining spots are aligned in a diagonal band across the wing.

Range: It flies throughout most of the eastern U.S.; in Canada, it occurs in southwestern Ontario, northeast to the Toronto area, and probably in southern Manitoba.

Specimen collection data

Similar Species: The Northern Cloudywing (T. pylades) and the Dusted Skipper (Atrytonopsis hianna). [compare images]

Early Stages: Larvae are brownish in colour with dark brown dorsal and paler lateral lines. The head and collar are black. They live in folded leaf-nests on the foodplants, various herbaceous Fabaceae, and overwinter as mature larvae in the nests.

Abundance: Common and widespread in its U.S. range, it is generally rare in Canada.

Flight Season: There are two generations in most of its range. In Canada the first brood flies in June and early July, with an occasional second generation in southern Ontario in August.

Habits: The Southern Cloudywing is usually seen in open areas nectaring at flowers, and on mud.

Remarks: Two specimens of bathyllus from Manitoba (a male, Miniota, 6 June 1902, and a female, Beulah, 25 May 1901) were discovered among material of Northern Cloudywing (T. pylades) from the same area in the H.A. Gibbon Collection, which was recently donated to the CNC, Ottawa. Other disjunct populations of moths and butterflies (e.g., Erynnis brizo) occur in this area, so we provisionally accept these records. The collecting dates, however, are about two weeks earlier than what would be expected in this area so confirmation of bathyllus in Manitoba is required.

© 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.