Atalopedes campestris

Sub-Family Description:

Caterpillar: The caterpillar is brownish green with a black head. It is covered with black tubercles and black hair.
Adult: This is a medium-sized skipper, with a wingspan of 1 to 1 5/8 inches. The male is yellowish to brownish orange on the upperside and marked with wide brown borders. Males have a large stigma (region of scent scales used in attracting females) in the shape of a rectangle near the center of the forewing. The female is yellowish to dark brown on the upperside and is marked with one to several whitish (possibly transparent) spots on the forewing. The underside of the male is golden yellow, light brown along the outer edges of the wings, and marked with black on the forewing where it attaches to the body.  The underside of the forewing of the female is golden yellow while the underside of the hindwing is brownish and marked with a curved band of off-white spots.

This species is a resident of the extreme southern U.S., from southern California east to Virginia, south into South America. Each year it colonizes north as far as southern British Columbia, Idaho, Wyoming, and North Dakota east to Pennsylvania. Just recently it has been documented in Idaho in Nez Perce and Lewis Counties, where the Snake River crosses the border into Washington.

It occurs in open, grassy areas including prairies, fields, disturbed areas, and along watercourses.

Caterpillars feed on the leaves of grasses (Poaceae), such as Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon).
Butterflies drink nectar from a wide variety of flowers belonging to several families including the milkweed family (Asclepiadaceae), the dogbane family (Apocynaceae), and the sunflower family (Asteraceae).

Caterpillars live and feed in shelters constructed from leaves rolled and tied with silk at the bases of host grasses. There are several generations of caterpillars in the southern part of its range, and one to three where it colonizes in the northern part of its range. Adults generally fly from March to December in the south and from June to October in the north. The overwintering stage is unreported.

Males perch to wait for receptive females. Females lay light green eggs singly on host grasses.

Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.
Global Rank: G5
populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.

Ferris, C. D. and F. M. Brown. (eds.) 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, USA, 442 pp.

Opler, P. A., H. Pavulaan, and R. E. Stanford. 1995. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, North Dakota, USA: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. (Version 05Nov98).

Opler, P. A. and A. B.Wright. 1999. A Field Guide to the Western Butterflies.   Second Edition.  Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York, USA, 540 pp.

Pyle, R. M. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, New York, USA, 924 pp.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA, 583 pp.

Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western U.S.A. Butterflies (Including Adjacent Parts of Canada and Mexico). Published by authors, Denver, Colorado, USA, 275 pp.