|scientific name Pyrgus scriptura |
common name Small Checkered Skipper
Sparsely vegetated areas of the shortgrass prairies.
The only Alberta record is for July 23. May be double-brooded.
Superficially similar to the other checkered skippers, but this little skipper (wingspan 16 - 22 mm) inhabits only prairie habitat, along with the Common Checkered Skipper (P. communis). In addition to its smaller size, the white markings of scriptura are much smaller than those of communis.
No data relevant to Alberta are available, and the early stages are undescribed. This species is likely double-brooded in Alberta, since there are two flights (May and July to mid August) in the northern U.S. (Layberry et al. 1998). The only other Canadian record, from Saskatchewan, is from May 19 (Layberry et al. 1998). This species is easily overlooked because of its small size, light colouration and fast flight (McCabe & Post 1977).
Restricted range in Canada; Population survey and tracking work needed.
The larval hostplant in the US is Alkali Mallow (Sida hederacea) (Layberry et al. 1998). Other herbaceous mallows such as Scarlet Mallow (Sphaeralcea coccina) are likely hosts in Alberta, since Sida spp. are not known to occur here (Moss 1992).
The core of this species' range is in the American southwest, south to central Mexico. Records are sporadic for Montana the Dakotas and Wyoming (Opler 1999). In Canada, this skipper is known only from the Lost River Coulee, AB and near Rosefield SK (Layberry et al. 1998).
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