Polites sonora
Sonora Skipper

Family Description:
Alternate Common Name: Western Long Dash.

The caterpillar is light green with a black head.
Adult: This is a fairly small skipper, with a wingspan of 1 to 1 inches. Although the color varies slightly, generally the upperside is brownish orange, with a darker border and several golden yellow spots. Males have a black stigma (patch of scent scales used in attracting females) on the forewing. The underside varies in color from greenish brown to light brown to blackish brown. The underside of the hindwing is marked with a curved row of whitish, square-shaped spots, with a single spot to the inside.

This species ranges from southern British Columbia south to central California, and from central and southeastern Idaho south and east to central Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado.

It occurs in moist areas such as meadows, along streams, and in coastal plains.

Caterpillars feed on grasses; the preferred species is currently thought to be Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis).

Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar, often from white-flowered thistles.

There is one generation of caterpillars each summer. The overwintering stage is unreported. Adults generally fly from June through September. The butterflies when at rest are found with their forewings partially open and their hindwings fully open.

Males perch to wait for receptive females. The sites chosen by females for oviposition have not been reported.

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.

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.