Butterflies of Mexico,
USA & Canada
Family - HESPERIIDAE
Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada
There are 21 species in
the genus Ochlodes, 5 of which occur in
North America, with the remainder distributed variously across
Europe and temperate Asia.
Ochlodes species have a fulvous or dark
reddish-brown ground colour, and are marked on the forewings with a
diagonal band of suffused pale yellowish or orange spots. Males of
all species have a prominent black streak of androconial scales.
occurs in the western states of the USA, and in British Columbia in
This species can be found in almost grassy
habitat including sagebrush, chaparral, meadows, open sunny areas
within deciduous or coniferous woodland, golf courses etc.
pale yellow dome-shaped egg is laid singly on the underside of grass
The larva feeds nocturnally on grasses including
Cynodon ( Poaceae ). It spends the early stages of it's life
within a tube of grass constructed by joining together 2 grass
blades with strands of silk. It periodically emerges from the tube
to eject it's droppings, which are catapulted some distance by
flicking them with a comb-like device on it's tail.
hibernates within a newly constructed tent of grasses and resumes
feeding in the spring. The fully grown larva is pale green with a
series of fine blackish dorsal and lateral stripes. The chrysalis is
brownish-cream, dotted with brown and with a waxy whitish coating.
It is formed within the final larval shelter, head-upwards, and
secured by bristles on the head and cremaster.
butterflies have a rapid whirring flight, 'skipping' from leaf to
leaf. When basking they hold their wings in the characteristic
position as illustrated.
Males patrol back and
forth across their breeding sites in the late morning on warm sunny
mornings to search for freshly emerged females. If unsuccessful at
this time they switch to a 'perch and wait' tactic in the afternoon.
Typically a male will then seek a sheltered, sunny spot in a woodland
glade, a trail intersection, or at the base of a grassy hillside.
There he will sit on a tall grass head or on a leaf, ready to dart up
and investigate any passing insect.
Other males are
challenged aggressively and driven off. During these territorial
males buzz frenetically around each other, while flying rapidly in
broad circles, soaring to a height of about 4-5 metres above ground
level. At this point they separate and the "owner" of the territory
returns to it's original perch - or very nearby, while the intruder
moves on to set up a territory elsewhere.
When females are
encountered they are chased until they settle, usually on a bush or
small tree; and copulation follows after a brief courtship ritual.
imbibe mineralised moisture from mud. Both sexes nectar at a wide
range of flowers.