Hesperia comma
Common Branded Skipper

Note: This is really a complex comprised of many species or subspecies.


Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.

Global Rank: G5; populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.


Range: This widespread species is holarctic, which means it can be found in the temperate regions of the entire Northern Hemisphere. In North America, it occurs from central Alaska and the northwestern Canadian territories south to northern Idaho and western Montana, and east across Canada to the east coast, extending south into the northern portions of the Great Lakes states and Maine.

The preferred habitat is open, sunny areas such as fields, meadows, and forest openings.


Caterpillars live in nests of leaves tied with silk. Each summer, there is one generation of caterpillars. In most of its range, the eggs overwinter. In the arctic, the species may be biennial, with the older caterpillars or pupae also overwintering in a physiological state called diapause. Adults generally fly from early June to mid-September.

Males perch to wait for receptive females. Females lay eggs on or near host plants.


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. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/bflyusa/bflyusa.htm (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.