Butterfly Listing by Latin 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.

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