Hesperia nevada
Nevada Skipper

Family Description:
Alternate Common Name: Montane Skipper.

Caterpillar: The caterpillar is brownish green, with a black head marked with offwhite.
Adult: This is a medium-sized skipper, with a wingspan of 1 to 1 7/16 inches. The male is brownish orange on the upperside, and marked with a dark border and several scattered paler spots. Males have a stigma (patch of scent scales used in attracting females) that forms a blackish streak on the forewing. The female is brown with patches of orange but otherwise is marked similarly to the male. Underneath, both sexes have an orange forewing, darker where the wing attaches to the body, and tipped with greenish brown. There may be several small white spots. The underside of the hindwing is green to gray to brown, and is marked with several larger patches of white.

This species ranges from southern British Columbia east to Saskatchewan, from the eastern Pacific Northwest east to central Montana and Wyoming; and in western Colorado and patches of California and the southwest. It occurs in portions of central and southern Idaho.

Typically found at higher elevations, it occurs in open areas such as sagebrush steppe, meadows, grasslands, and open woodlands.

Caterpillars feed on grasses including western needlegrass (Stipa occidentalis) and fescue (Festuca spp.).

Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar.

Caterpillars live in tubes made of silk at the bases of host plants. There is only one generation of caterpillars each summer. They overwinter in partially buried shelters, in a physiological state called diapause. Adults generally fly from late May to early August.

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

Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.
Global Rank: G5
populations levels are secure, but may be of concern in the future.

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.

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.