Hesperiidae   skippers


Some family facts

  1. Bullet  Known as “skippers” because their flight is rapid and erratic (skipping).

  2. Bullet  About 250 species occur in North America, 22 in Monterey County. 

  3. Bullet  Many males have stigma patch (scent scales) on forewing and/or costal fold with scent scales).

  4. Bullet  Two subfamilies occur in Monterey County, the Pyrginae (spread-wing skippers) and Hesperiinae (grass skippers).


  1. tiny

  2. vary in appearance, often dome-shaped


  1. green and tapered

  2. typical overwintering stage

  3. live in leaf shelters



  1. hang in loose cocoons

  2. may have a silk girdle

Adult characteristics:   

  1. fully developed, functioning, forelegs

  2. unique forewing venation pattern

  3. curved or hooked antennae tips

  4. large hairy body and head as wide or wider than thorax

  5. small pointed wings

Adult behaviors:

  1. skipping flight pattern

  2. many bask in sun with unique posture


Hesperiids in Monterey County:


  silver-spotted skipper  Epargyreus clarus  

    sleepy duskywing  Erynnis brizo

    funereal duskywing  Erynnis funeralis

    pacuvius duskywing  Erynnis pacuvius

    persius duskywing  Erynnis persius  

    propertius duskywing  Erynnis propertius

    mournful duskywing  Erynnis tristis

    northern white-skipper  Heliopetes ericetorum

    common sootywing  Pholisora catullus  

    common checkered-skipper  Pyrgus communis

    two-banded checkered-skipper  Pyrgus ruralis

    northern cloudywing  Thorybes pylades


    sachem  Atalopedes campestris

    western branded skipper  Hesperia colorado

    columbian skipper  Hesperia columbia

    Lindsey’s skipper  Hesperia lindseyi

    fiery skipper  Hylephila phyleus

    rural skipper  Ochlodes agricola

    woodland skipper  Ochlodes sylvanoides

    umber skipper  Poanes melane

    sandhill skipper  Polites sabuleti

umber skipper near Pfeiffer SP