Pyrgus centaureae wyandot (W. H. Edwards, 1863)
Appalachian Grizzled Skipper
NatureServe Global Rank: G5T1T2
Virginia State Rank: S1
VA DGIF Tier: I
Federal Legal Status: None
Virginia Legal Status: Threatened
Description: The Appalachian Grizzled Skipper is a small checkered skipper with white square-like spots on a charcoal grey wing. From above, the spots do not form any distinctive lines.
Similar species: The Common Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus communis) is slightly larger with more extensive white markings on both the upper and lower sides of each wing. From above, the sub-marginal line of spots is distinctly marked.
North American Range: Albeit under some taxonomic uncertainty, this subspecies is known from localized populations in the Appalachian Mountains region from New York to North Carolina, east to New Jersey and west to Ohio. The nominate species occurs through Canada and the mountains west of the United States.
VA Observations by Locality: Albemarle | Alleghany | Augusta | Bath | Bland | Fairfax | Franklin | Frederick | Giles | Highland | Montgomery | Rappahannock | Roanoke | Rockbridge | Salem, City of | Augusta | Carroll | Frederick | Montgomery | Alleghany | Frederick | Rockbridge
Flight season and broods: The Appalachian Grizzled Skipper is an early spring flier with Virginia flight records from 28 March to 3 June, but it is more typically found from mid April to early May. It is single brooded.
Habitat and Food Plants: In Virginia, the Appalachian Grizzled Skipper has been found on dry, open areas with shaley soils such as shale barrens. It has been found in artificially opened habitats such as clearcuts and utility rights-of-way. Dwarf Cinquefoil (Potentilla canadensis) is its primary larval food plant.
Behavior and Ecology: Seems to prefer early successional areas with extensive amounts of the host plant available. Males fly low and perch on lower plants or bare ground, females patrol around the host plant. Pupae over-winter in small shelters created by the leaves of the host plant.
Population trend and potential threats: Appalachian Grizzled Skippers have decreased across its range and is considered 'critically imperiled' by seven states and the District of Columbia, and historical in another. An often cited cause of its decline is the result of gypsy moth suppression activities. In Virginia, it has been recorded from 12 counties, but since 1992 has only been documented at 6 locations despite targeted surveys.
Management practices: Use of only species-specific gypsy moth control practices, and potentially allowing some creation (natural or man-made) habitat openings.
References: Allen, T. J. 1997. The Butterflies of West Virginia and their Caterpillars. University of Pittsburg Press. 388pp.
Chazal, A. C., S. M. Roble, C. S. Hobson, and K. L. Derge. 2004. Status of the Appalachian Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus centaureae wyandot) in Virginia.
NatureServe. 2011. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://www.natureserve.org/explorer. (Accessed: January 18, 2012).
Parshall, David. 2002. A Conservation Assessment for the Southern Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus centaureae wyandot). Unpublished report. prepared for USDA Forest Service, Eastern Region.
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, 600 E. Main St., 24th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219
This atlas was compiled
by the VA Natural Heritage Program with funds provided by the VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries through a state wildlife grant
from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Last Modified: Tuesday, 24 January 2017, 10:12:03 PM