|scientific name Ochlodes sylvanoides |
common name Woodland Skipper
Open, shrubby areas and grasslands in the southern mountains and prairies.
One generation per year, with flight activity peaking in mid- to late August.
Most likely to be confused with our Polites skippers, particularly mystic and themistocles. Sylvanoides can be separated from themistocles by the hindwing underside, which is brownish yellow, not dark tawny-brown as in themistocles. The Woodland Skipper flies later in the year than P. mystic, and the dark marginal border of the forewing upperside is jagged and well defined, not blending into the orange median area as in mystic.
Subspecies sylvanoides (extreme southwestern Alberta) is slightly darker and smaller than the prairie subspecies napa (Layberry et al. 1998).
The egg is undescribed. First instar larvae overwinter, and are cream in colour with a black head (Bird et al. 1995). Mature larvae have variously been described as yellowish with two dark bands (Bird et al. 1995) or seven black longitudinal lines (Opler 1999). The head is black or creamy tan (Opler 1999). Pupae are yellowish tan in colour (Bird et al. 1995). Unlike many grass skippers (Hesperiinae), Woodland Skippers are much more easily approached and can be observed at close range.
Both subspecies are currently ranked as S2 (ANHIC 2000).
There are no specific literature records for the grass species the larvae feed on; broad-leaved grasses are often cited (Opler 1999). Adults are fond of nectaring at composites (Compositeae) such as thistles (Cirsium) and knapweed (Centaurea).
Central B.C., southern Alberta, and southwestern Saskatchewan south to Baja California, Mexico and northern New Mexico (Opler 1999). The Woodland Skipper appears to have expanded its Alberta range northward over the past 20 years (Kondla 2001, Schmidt et al. 2003).
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