Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Common Roadside-Skipper
Amblyscirtes vialis (W.H. Edwards, 1862)


Family: Hesperiidae
Subfamily: Hesperiinae
Identification: Upperside is black with a few small white spots at the tip of the forewing. Underside is dark brown with violet-gray at the forewing tip and the outer half of the hindwing.
Wing Span: 7/8 - 1 1/4 inches (2.2 - 3.2 cm).
Life History: To await receptive females, males perch on the ground or low plants in forest openings or edges, waving their antennae in small circles. Females deposit eggs singly on the host plants; caterpillars eat leaves, and make shelters of rolled and tied leaves. Caterpillars hibernate.
Flight: One brood from March-July; a partial second brood up to September in the south.
Caterpillar Hosts: Various grasses including wild oats (Avena), bent grass (Agrostis), bluegrass (Poa), Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), and Indian woodoats grass (Chasmanthium latifolia).
Adult Food: These skippers prefer nectar from low-growing blue flowers including verbena and selfheal.
Habitat: Open areas in or near woodland, often close to streams.
Range: The Roadside Skipper is the most widespread skipper in North America. It occurs from British Columbia east across southern Canada to Maine and Nova Scotia; south to central California, northern New Mexico, Texas, the Gulf states, and northern Florida.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
Comments: NULL