Butterfly Listing by Common Name (Family Hesperiidae)


The skippers are a worldwide family of about 3500 species that appear to be "sister" to the rest of the "true butterflies". The clubs on the tips of the antennae are usually hooked. Our California skippers fall into two or three subfamilies: the spread-wing skippers (Pyrginae), the folded-wing skippers (Hesperiinae), and the Heteropterinae.

The spread-winged skippers are generally dark brown and hold both sets of their wings open when landed. They use a wide variety of hostplants, including oaks, Ceanothus, legumes, mallows, and even saltbush. California genera include Pyrgus, Heliopetes, Erynnis, Thorybes, Epargyreus, and Pholisora.

The folded-wing skippers have a characteristic posture when they land: the forewings are held at a 45o angle to the rest of the body while the hindwing is held open and flat. This gives them a "fighter-jet" like appearance. They are largely orange and tawny, and many have whitish chevrons on the ventral hindwing, although some genera are dark brown. All members of this group feed on grasses or grassy-like plants (like sedges and rushes) as caterpillars, and as a result, they are often called the grass skippers. California genera include Hesperia, Ochlodes, Polites, Poanes, Hylephila, Lerodea, Amblyscirtes, and Atalopedes.

A third subfamily, the Heteropterinae, is weakly differentiated from the other skipper subfamilies, but the lone California representative is distinctive: Carterocephalus palaemon.

Polites sabuleti ssp. "Verdi" Sandhill Skipper
Polites sabuleti ssp.
Carterocephalus palaemon Arctic Skipper
Carterocephalus palaemon
Hesperia columbia Columbian Skipper
Hesperia columbia
Pyrgus communis Common Checkered Skipper
Pyrgus communis
Pholisora catullus Common Sooty-Wing
Pholisora catullus
Erynnis icelus Dreamy Dusky-Wing
Erynnis icelus
Hesperia colorado idaho East Slope Colorado Skipper
Hesperia colorado idaho
Lerodea eufala Eufala Skipper
Lerodea eufala
Atalopedes campestris Field Skipper, Sachem
Atalopedes campestris
Hylephila phyleus Fiery Skipper
Hylephila phyleus
Erynnis funeralis Funereal Dusky-Wing
Erynnis funeralis
Hesperia lindseyi Lindsey's Skipper
Hesperia lindseyi
Erynnis tristis Mournful Dusky-Wing, Sad Dusky-Wing
Erynnis tristis
Thorybes mexicana nevada Nevada Cloudy-Wing
Thorybes mexicana nevada
Hesperia nevada Nevada Skipper
Hesperia nevada
Thorybes pylades Northern Cloudy-Wing
Thorybes pylades
Heliopetes ericetorum Northern White Skipper
Heliopetes ericetorum
Erynnis pacuvius Pacuvius Duskywing, Grinnell's Duskywing
Erynnis pacuvius
Erynnis persius Persius Dusky-Wing
Erynnis persius
Erynnis propertius Propertius Dusky-Wing
Erynnis propertius
Amblyscirtes vialis Roadside Skipper
Amblyscirtes vialis
Polites sabuleti sabuleti Sandhill Skipper
Polites sabuleti sabuleti
Hesperia colorado ssp. Serpentine Colorado Skipper
Hesperia colorado ssp.
Epargyreus clarus Silver-Spotted Skipper
Epargyreus clarus
Erynnis brizo lacustra Sleepy Dusky-Wing, Leather Oak Dusky-Wing
Erynnis brizo lacustra
Pyrgus scriptura Small Checkered Skipper, Least Checkered Skipper
Pyrgus scriptura
Polites sonora Sonoran Skipper
Polites sonora
Polites sabuleti tecumseh Tecumseh Skipper
Polites sabuleti tecumseh
Ochlodes agricola The Farmer, Rural Skipper
Ochlodes agricola
Hesperia colorado tildeni Tilden's Skipper
Hesperia colorado tildeni
Pyrgus ruralis Two-Banded Skipper
Pyrgus ruralis
Poanes melane Umber Skipper
Poanes melane
Hesperia colorado harpalus West Slope Colorado Skipper
Hesperia colorado harpalus
Thorybes diversus Western Cloudy-Wing
Thorybes diversus
Ochlodes sylvanoides Woodland Skipper
Ochlodes sylvanoides
Hesperia juba Yuba Skipper
Hesperia juba
Ochlodes yuma Yuma Skipper
Ochlodes yuma