|scientific name Pyrgus centaureae |
common name Grizzled Skipper
Alpine and subalpine meadows and acidic bogs in the boreal region.
Mid to late June in the boreal region, three to four weeks later in the mountains.
Superficially similar to the other checkered skippers; The Grizzled Skipper is larger than the rare Small Checkered Skipper (P. scriptura, wingspan 16 - 25 mm) which is known only from the Milk River valley of extreme southern Alberta. Compared to the Common Checkered Skipper (P. communis), the Grizzled has less extensive white markings. The Grizzled Skipper is most likely to be confused with the Two-banded Checkered Skipper in the Mountains. To separate these two, look at the upperside hindwing spots: centaureae has poorly defined, smudged white spots, while ruralis has two rows of sharply outlined white spots. P. ruralis is also slightly smaller, and is usually restricted to low-elevation, dry montane habitats.
Subspecies freija of the boreal region is darker than the mountain subspecies (loki); These taxa may in fact be separate species.
Nothing is known about the immature stages in North America. Males exhibit perching behaviour during cooler temperatures, and switch to patrolling in warmer conditions (Bird et al. 1995). This species may have a two-year life cycle, since it is more common in odd-numbered years in the mountains (Acorn 1993) and the possibly also in the boreal region (Schmidt unpubl. data).
Not of concern.
The larval foodplant of the mountain populations is unknown. The closely related Pyrgus wyandot feeds on Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) in Michigan (Nielsen 1999), and subspecies freija is presumed to feed on cloudberry (Rubus chaemomorus) in northern Canada (Layberry et al. 1998). These skippers take nectar at stonecrop, strawberry and cinquefoil (Bird et al. 1995).
Found throughout northern North America from Newfoundland to Alaska, south along the Rocky Mountains to northern New Mexico (Opler 1999). Also occurs in Europe and Asia.
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