Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

  Sighting 1268096

Ursine Giant-Skipper
Megathymus ursus

Observation date: August 07, 2020
Submitted by: Newmexicobutterflier
Specimen type: Photograph
Observation notes: At 11:20am on 7 Aug 2020 just down slope from the Clanton Canyon Tank, in the Peloncillo Moutains of sw. New Mexico, Jodhan Fine, Saunders Drukker, and I discovered a female Ursine Giant Skipper. She was flying rapidly in repetitive cycles around an area of about 100 sq. ft. in transitional habitat from yucca grasslands to mixed oak and Chihuahua Pine forest. The exact coordinates are as follows (31.520670, -109.014663). Skies were light overcast. We first noted her large size (easily 3" in length) and her rapid, audible flight. As she flipped passed us her wings made a soft cracking sound, reminiscent of some grasshopper species. Her wings were black, with large orange panels in the forewing, visible during flight. Even in flight her frosty blueish sheen and glowing white antennae were apparent. She rarely landed but when she did it was for less than 4 seconds in order to deposit a small whitish egg, with one reddish-brown splotch, on a yucca leaf. I obtained photos of her and her egg. They are uploaded to the sighting. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. What an amazing find! I've wanted to see this bear of a bug for many years.
Status: Resident
Verified by: stevecary
Verified date: August 13, 2020
Coordinator notes: Raymond, this is a tremendous, exciting observation. The pic must be the butterfly pic of the year for New Mexico. Your observations of her flight and oviposition behaviors are all new to me. I've seen it once, but only for a second before it departed. Thanks for getting this in the BAMONA system. I'd like to see/hear more of what you're finding in the Bootheel. Feel free to contact me at sjcary@centurylink.net. again, KUDOS to you and your colleagues!!
Checklist region(s): United States, New Mexico, Hidalgo County