Hesperopsis libya
Mohave Sootywing

Family Description:
Alternate Common Name: Great Basin Sootywing.
This species is referred to with the genus name Pholisora by some authors.

Caterpillar: The caterpillar is colorful – bluish green, dotted with black and covered with white bristles. The head is black and is covered with short red hair.
Adult: This is a small to medium-sized skipper, with a wingspan of 7/8 to 1 1/4 inches. It is dark brown to black on the upperside and fringed with white along the edges of the wings. The forewing is marked with two small rows of white spots; the hindwing may have a few white dots as well. Underneath is golden brown, and marked with small white dots on the tip of the forewing and one or two curved rows of white spots on the hindwing.

This species ranges from eastern Oregon south through California and Nevada to Mexico, and from eastern Montana and western North Dakota southwest through parts of Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. It occurs in Idaho only in the southwestern corner of the state.

It is restricted to dry areas with little relief, such as flat sagebrush steppe and deserts.

Caterpillars feed on the leaves of four-winged salt bush (Atriplex canescens) and shadscale (other Atriplex spp.).

Adult: Butterflies feed on flower nectar.

Caterpillars live in nests made from leaves tied with silk. The number of generations of caterpillars each year varies geographically, with only one in the northern part of its range, two in the central part, and several in the south. The overwintering stage is unreported. Adults generally fly from March through October.

Males actively patrol in search of receptive females. Females lay large eggs, colored light orange or off-white, singly on host plant leaves.

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. 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.