Two-banded Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus ruralis) (Boisduval, 1852)

Diagnosis: The Two-banded Checkered Skipper (wingspan: 20 to 26 mm) is darker than the previous species, with white dots more spaced on a black ground colour. The underside is a brownish grey, and there are three white spots on the inner margin of the forewing.

Subspecies: Two, but only the nominate subspecies occurs in Canada.

Range: Pyrgus ruralis flies in the northwestern U.S., reaching into Canada only in Alberta north to Nordegg, southern British Columbia north to Yoho National Park, and on southern and central Vancouver Island.

Specimen collection data


Similar Species: The Grizzled Skipper (P. centaureae) and the Common Checkered Skipper (P. communis) have much more extensive white areas. The Small Checkered Skipper (P. scriptura) lacks the brownish underside. [compare images]

Early Stages: The larvae are undescribed. The foodplants are all herbaceous Rosaceae, Potentilla drummondii and Horkelia spp. in the U.S.

Abundance: This skipper is uncommon and local.

Flight Season: There is one generation, flying from early May near the coast and at low elevations to mid July inland and at higher elevations.

Habits: The Two-banded Checkered Skipper flies in open grassland, meadows, and dry forest clearings, from sea-level to high altitude, up to at least 2000 metres in the Hope Mountains, British Columbia.

© 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.