Pyrgus ruralis
Two-Banded Checkered-Skipper

Family Description:

Caterpillar: Scientists currently have not described the caterpillar in detail.
Adult: This is a small skipper, with a wingspan of one inch. The upperside is brown to blackish brown; the forewing is marked with scattered, white, square-shaped spots, while the hindwing’s white spots are arranged in two rows. The hindwing also has a small white spot near its base. Underneath is brown to gray, spotted with white. The underside of the hindwing is often marked with a row of white "<"-shaped spots. Above and below, the wing edges are bordered with a black-and-white checked fringe. Males posses scent scales, used in attracting females, in a small, folded over section of the leading edge of the forewing (called a costal fold). Males also have tibial tufts, specialized hairs on the fourth segment of the hind leg, which are used to waft pheromones (sex attractant chemicals) to a female during mating. The hairs are tucked into special pockets on the body during flight.

This western species ranges from southern British Columbia through the Pacific Northwest to central California, and east through Idaho and western Montana to parts of Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado.

It is typically found in mountain meadows and forest openings.

Caterpillars feed on certain members of the rose family (Rosaceae), including horkelia (Horkelia spp.) and cinquefoil (Potentilla spp.).

Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar.

There is one generation of caterpillars each summer. Caterpillars construct shelters from leaves tied with silk. The overwintering stage is unreported. Adults generally fly from May to mid-July. Butterflies tend to remain fairly local and are uncommon.

Males perch and actively patrol in search of receptive females. Females lay yellow or green eggs on host plants.

Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.
Global Rank: G5
most populations are secure, but may be of concern in the future. Subspecies P. ruralis lagunae of California is listed as Endangered.

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. (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.