Butterfly: Wingspan: ¾ - 1¼ inch (2.2 - 3.1 cm). This dark brown skipper is easy to identify from the underside because the ground coloration of the wings actually looks as if it was sprinkled with minute grains of salt and pepper. Both wings on the underside contain several white spots on the basal and medial areas and a band of postmedial white spots. Checker squares of brown and white line the wing fringes. The upperside is dark reddish brown with a band of small white spots on the forewing
Egg: Females lay their large, light green, hemispherical-shaped egg singly on leaves (grass blades) of the host plant.
Caterpillar: Pale green with a dark green middorsal stripe. Head light tan with rusty brown triangle in center of face and two rusty-brown stripes at lateral edges of head. Overwintering stage.
Chrysalis: Light yellow-beige with tinge of green, especially on wing cases. Proboscis case orange beyond wingcases.
Males often perch on grass stems within two feet of the ground in wet marshy areas. They may leave their perch occasionally to nectar on flowers growing along nearby dirt roads or open woodland trails.
The caterpillars construct a retreat by rolling a grass blade (or two) into a tube which is held together with silk threads and suspended from a grass blade. Later, they chew through the strands holding the nest to the grass blade and drop to the ground. It seals itself in the nest where it overwinters until the following spring or summer before pupating.
The Pepper and Salt Skipper is found from north Florida west to east Texas; thence northward to Manitoba and east to Maine and Nova Scotia.
A dot on the county map indicates that there is at least one documented record of the species within that county. In some cases, a species may be common throughout the county, in others it may be found in only a specific habitat. The High Count information shows the highest numbers recorded for this species as well as when and where they occurred.
The sightings bar graphs depict the timing of flight(s) within each of three geographic regions. Place your cursor on a bar within the graph to see the number of individuals recorded during that period.
The abundance calendar displays the total number of individuals recorded within each week of the month. Both the graphs and the calendar are on based data collection that began in 2000.
The records analyzed here are only a beginning. As more data is collected, these maps and graphs will paint a more accurate picture of distribution and abundance in Alabama. Submit your sightings to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sightings in the following counties: Bibb, Calhoun, Cherokee, Chilton, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, DeKalb, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Madison, Marshall, Perry, Shelby, Tuscaloosa
View county names by moving the mouse over a county or view a map with county names
The Pepper and Salt Skipper prefers wet habitats such as moist openings at the edges of and within woodlands. It is often found along bottomlands near stream corridors, and wet areas along utility right-of-ways.
In Alabama, the host plants have not yet been documented.
In nearby states, the larvae of the Pepper and Salt Skipper reportedly feed on various grasses including Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis), indian grasses (Sorghastrum spp.), Fowl Mannagrass (Glyceria striata), and River Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium).
Pepper and Salt Skippers nectar from a variety of flowers. They also sip moisture and nutrients from damp soil.
Provide a variety of garden worthy, nectar-rich flowers to attract butterflies like the Pepper and Salt Skipper. These include: Butterfly Milkweed and other milkweeds; Purple Coneflower and other coneflowers; black eyed susans; phloxes; mountain mints; Common Buttonbush; Joe Pye weeds; gayfeathers/blazing stars; Mistflower; ironweeds; asters; and goldenrods.
If you have a lawn in your landscape, consider letting it be natural. The diverse assemblage of native and nonnative flowering plants and grasses typically found in naturalized lawns provides nectar and host sources for many small butterflies including Pepper and Salt Skippers.
Click on individual photos to view a larger version that includes photo credits, county, and date.
Photos with comments are indicated by a small, tan dot on the bottom right.