Butterfly: Wingspan: ¾ - 1¼ inches (2.2 - 3.2 cm). The underside of the wings is dark brownish-black with numerous tiny whitish flecks. The forewing apex and the outer one-half of the hindwing are violet-gray. The upperside of the wings are black with a cluster of small white spots at the apex of the forewing. Both sexes have a checkered wing fringe.
Egg: Pale green. Hemispherical. Laid singly on host plant.
Caterpillar: Pale green, covered with a white powdery bloom. Numerous tiny tubercles, each bearing a flattened hair, cover the body. Grayish head with midline gray facial stripe bordered by two vertical dashes. Overwintering stage.
Chrysalis: Green with reddish hue at both ends of body. Proboscis case red beyond wing cases.
Males may usually be seen as they perch on dirt roads, boulders, or low growing vegetation in open areas near forest edges as they wait for receptive females to fly by. Common Roadside-Skippers have a unique habit of waving their antennae in a circular motion as they await females.
While the Common Roadside-Skipper is one of the most common and widespread skippers in North America, it is not common in Alabama: its southernmost range only extends into the northeast quadrant of our state.
The Common Roadside-Skipper is found from Nova Scotia and Maine west across southern Canada to British Columbia south to central California to northern Arizona and New Mexico; eastward throughout the plains states to the Atlantic seaboard; south to northern Georgia and Alabama; a couple of records from the panhandle of Florida.
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, Cleburne, DeKalb, Jefferson, Madison, Shelby
View county names by moving the mouse over a county or view a map with county names
Dirt roads, boulders, or low growing vegetation in open areas near forest edges.
In Alabama, no host plants have not yet been documented.
In nearby states, the caterpillars eat the leaves of many grass species including Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon), bluegrasses (Poa spp.), bentgrasses (Agrostis spp.), Common Oats (Avena sativa), and River Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium).
The Common Roadside- Skipper is known to nectar on a variety of low-growing flowers.
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.