Ochlodes yuma
Yuma Skipper

Family Description:
Alternate Common Name: Giant Reed Skipper.

Caterpillar: Young caterpillars are orange and have a black head. Older caterpillars are light green, marked lengthwise with brown stripes, and have an off-white colored head.
Adult: This is a medium-sized skipper, with a wingspan of 1 1/8 to 1 3/8 inches. The male is yellowish orange on the upperside, bordered with dark brown. There is a black stigma (patch of scent scales used in attracting females) near the center of the forewing. The female is yellowish brown on the upperside, marked with scattered patches of yellowish white, and has no stigma. Underneath, both sexes are golden yellow with a region of brown or black at the base of the forewing and possibly with pale spots on the hindwing.

This species ranges from central California east through Nevada, southern Utah, Colorado, and Arizona. Also, isolated populations occur in Washington, New Mexico, and Idaho (Twin Falls County).

It can be found in wet spots where the host plant, the common reed, occurs, including marshes, canals, seeps, and desert oases.

Caterpillars feed on the leaves of the common reed (Phragmites australis).

Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar.

There are one to two generations of caterpillars each summer. Caterpillars form nests from reed leaves rolled and tied with silk. The overwintering stage has not been reported. Adults generally fly from June through September. Butterflies live in localized, isolated colonies.

Males perch in low spots to wait for receptive females. Greenish white eggs are laid on or near the host plant.

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.