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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Arizona Powdered-Skipper
Systasea zampa  EDWARDS, 1876
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - PYRGINAE
Tribe - PYRGINI
Systasea zampa, Arizona, USA   Tony Hoare
Introduction
The 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 only 3 Systasea species - microsticta from Mexico, pulverulenta which is distributed from Texas to Guatemala, and zampa.
Systasea zampa is found in California, Texas, Arizona and Mexico.
Habitats
This species occurs in hot sun-baked habitats, favouring canyons and gorges.
Lifecycle
The egg is white and is laid singly on the underside of a leaf of Abutilon ( Malvaceae ), although up to 6 may be laid on the same leaf by a single female on repeat visits. The newly hatched caterpillar is translucent green, darker in the middle and fading to pale straw towards the head and tail, and has a shiny black head. It constructs a refuge by making a long incision stretching from half-way along the edge of a leaf to the midrib. It then pulls over a flap of the leaf, fastening it with silk to make a distinctive shelter. After each moult the larva builds a new shelter. Pupation takes place in the final leaf shelter. The pupa is white and slightly waxy in appearance.
Adult behaviour

The butterfly is usually encountered singly. It usually keeps its wings fully outspread while feeding or when settled for short periods, but holds the wings erect when at roost.

 

 

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