Mexico, USA & Canada
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - PYRGINAE
Tribe - PYRGINI
Pyrgus centaureae Kananaskis,
© Chris Orpin
subfamily Pyrginae are characterised by their habit of basking with
wings outspread, compared to the half-open position favoured by the
Hesperiinae. In North and South America 580 species are placed
within the tribe Pyrgini.
There are about 50 known species in the
cosmopolitan genus Pyrgus, which has
representatives in Europe and temperate Asia, as well as in
North central and South America. The genus is instantly recognisable
from the pattern of squarish white spots on a grizzled greyish
ground colour, and by the conspicuous chequered fringes to the
All Pyrgus males
have the basal half of the leading edge of the forewing folded back.
Within the fold are hundreds of specialised wing scales called
androconia, from which pheromones are disseminated to entice females
The commonest and most widely distributed species
in North America is communis which is
found in southern Canada, throughout the USA and Central America,
and south along the Andes to Peru.
a northern species, found in the Rocky Mountains and throughout
Canada. It is also found in Siberia and subarctic regions of Europe
species breeds in alpine meadows, tundra and other northern and high
The egg is pale green, and is laid singly on the underside of a leaf
of the foodplant.
The larva feeds on the leaves of
Fragaria and Rubus ( Rosaceae ).
It is greyish or olive-brown on colour and has a black head. It
lives within a flimsy shelter constructed by folding over a leaf and
fixing it in place with a few strands of silk. After each moult it
moves and builds another shelter. The pupa is whitish, mottled
heavily with blackish, and has black rings around the lower
Both sexes bask on low herbage,
bare ground or stones, with wings outspread. They have a rapid darting
flight, always close to the ground. Males are territorial, using
stones or small fallen branches as perches from which they dart up to
intercept females or to challenge other males.
The butterflies visit a variety of
low growing flowering plants for nectar, feeding with the wings held
At dusk they go to roost on dead flowers or on the terminal leaves of