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Species Burnsius communis - Common Checkered-Skipper - Hodges#3966

common checkered skipper - Burnsius communis Common Checkered-Skipper - Burnsius communis Pyrgus communis - Burnsius communis - male Small black and white butterfly  - Burnsius communis Common Checkered Skipper - Burnsius communis Common Checkered-Skipper - Burnsius communis Weird Butterfly/Moth  - Burnsius communis - female Burnsius communis
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Hesperiidae (Skippers)
Subfamily Pyrginae (Spread-wing Skippers)
Tribe Pyrgini
Genus Burnsius (New World Checkered-Skippers)
Species communis (Common Checkered-Skipper - Hodges#3966)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
CuadrĂ­cula ComĂșn
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Burnsius communis (Grote, 1872); synonyms:
Pyrgus communis
Wingspan 2.5-3.8 cm
Adult: usually darker than White Checkered-Skipper, and male often has partial black checks in wing fringes (rather than complete, as in P. albescens) - but read See Also section below. Upperside of male bluish-gray; female black. Both sexes have large white spots which form median bands across both wings. Male has costal fold enclosing scent scales on upperside of forewing. Underside of both wings dull white with dark gray or olive bands. Spots of hindwing marginal row very small; spots of submarginal row larger.
Much of North America, south of northern forests; mostly absent from southern California and southern Nevada and much of the immediate Gulf Coast, according to the map in Burns (2000).
According to a comment by Randy Emmitt here, the White Checkered-Skipper may be replacing the Common Checkered-Skipper in the southeastern states - also see Calhoun (2002).
Fields, edges
Adults fly June-October in north (two broods), and all year in subtropical areas.
Larvae feed on mallows (Malvaceae), including Althea, Abutilon, Malva.
Adults take nectar.
Discussion of taxonomy changes to Pyrgini on BugGuide:
See Also
Where the ranges overlap (i.e., central California, southern Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and the southeastern states), White Checkered-Skipper female is indistinguishable, and male is positively identifiable only with the specimen in hand (by extending the penis and verifying the species under a lens).
Tropical Checkered-Skipper, which has a more southern distribution (Florida, Gulf Coast, and southern Arizona only), has prominent cell-end and subapical spots on the forewing, and its forewing fringe is typically "smudged" below the apex (as opposed to evenly checked).
Print References
Brock, pp. 288-289 (1)
Glassberg, p. 161, plate 53 (2)
Scott, #665, pp. 495-496 (3)
Allen, p. 206, plates 26, 41, 49 (4)
Internet References
Butterflies and Moths of North America: Adult images and species account, including US distribution map
Works Cited
1.Butterflies of North America (Kaufman Focus Guides)
Jim P. Brock, Kenn Kaufman. 2003. Houghton Mifflin Co.
2.Butterflies Through Binoculars: The East
Jeffrey Glassberg. 1999. Oxford University Press.
3.The Butterflies of North America: A Natural History and Field Guide
James A. Scott. 1992. Stanford University Press.
4.The Butterflies of West Virginia and Their Caterpillars
Thomas J. Allen. 1998. University of Pittsburgh Press.