Thorybes pylades
Northern Cloudywing

Family Description:
Alternate Common Name: Cloudy Wing.

Caterpillar: The caterpillar varies in color from golden orange to dark green. It is dotted with yellow, marked with patches of reddish purple, and striped lengthwise with purple, red, and/or pink.
Adult: This is a medium-sized to large skipper, with a wingspan of 1 1/4 to 1 7/8 inches. The tip of the forewing appears more rounded than pointed. It is dark brown on the upperside and marked with a scattering of white spots, triangles, and small bars on the forewing. The fringe edging the wings has a checkerboard appearance. Underneath is brown frosted with gray along the outer edge. The spots from the forewing above show through. The underside of the hindwing is additionally marked with two bands of dark brown. Males possess a costal fold which contains scent scales (used in attracting females) along the leading edge of the forewing.

This species exhibits an extensive in Canada, from Alberta east to the Atlantic; throughout the entire eastern half of the U.S.; and from southern British Columbia south through parts of California, and south through the Rocky Mountain states to the southwest and Mexico. It has been documented to occur in three counties of Idaho: Adams, Boise, and Elmore.

It occurs in or near wooded or brushy areas.

Caterpillars feed on the leaves of a variety of legumes (Fabaceae family), including beggar’s tick (Desmodium spp.), bush clover (Lespedeza spp.), and wild pea (Lathyrus spp.).

Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar from a wide variety of flowers, often those white, pink, or purple in color.

Caterpillars live in nests of leaves rolled or tied with silk. Older caterpillars overwinter in a physiological state called diapause. The number of generations of caterpillars each year varies regionally, with there being only one in the north or at high elevation and two or more in the south. Adults generally fly from May through July.

Males perch all day in shrubs and small trees, often on hilltops, to wait for receptive females. Eggs are laid singly under the leaves of host plants.

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. (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.