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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Toltec Roadside-Skipper
Amblyscirtes tolteca  SCUDDER, 1872
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - HESPERIINAE
Tribe -
Amblyscirtes tolteca prenda, Arizona, USA  Tony Hoare
Introduction
The genus Amblyscirtes comprises of 28 species, distributed variously from the USA to Guatemala.
The uppersides of all species are dull earthy brown. In most species the fringes are chequered and the wings have a pattern of whitish spots similar to those of tolteca. However in a few species e.g. phylace and anubis the spots are vestigial; and in aesculapius they are enlarged and confluent. The undersides are generally similar in pattern to the dorsal, but the markings - especially those on the hindwings - are more pronounced.
Amblyscirtes tolteca is found from the southern USA to Nicaragua. There are 2 subspecies - tolteca which is found in Mexico, Nicaragua, and as an occasional stray in south Texas; and prenda which occurs from s.e. Arizona to n.w. Mexico.
Habitats
This species is found in open dry areas including scrubby grasslands and roadsides at elevations between sea-level and about 1000m.
Lifecycle
The caterpillar is translucent green, with a darker green stripe running the length of the back. The head is dark reddish-brown and has 2 broad white vertical bands. It rests during daylight within a shelter or tube made by folding and silking a grass blade. At dusk it emerges and nibbles notches out of the edge of the leaf. The chrysalis is whitish and slightly translucent. It is formed within a flimsy cocoon made from a folded dead grass blade that has been fastened together with silk.
Adult behaviour
Males spend long periods perching on grass blades, dead flowerheads or low herbage, where they await passing females. Both sexes nectar at a wide variety of flowering plants, and males also visit patches of damp ground to imbibe mineralised moisture.
 

 

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