New Jersey Butterflies

Common Roadside-Skipper

Amblyscirtes vialis

Identification: Tiny—FW <0.5". Sexes similar. Above: FW very dark with white "bracelet," and sometimes two additional tiny pale spots in center of wing. HW unmarked dark brown. Brown-and-tan checkered fringes visible on trailing edges of both wings. Below: Very dark with white spots on leading edge of FW coalescing to form a white "bracelet" that contrasts with the overall dark color. When fresh, shows violet frosting on outer portion of both wings. Brown-and-tan checkered fringes along trailing edges of both wings. Similar skippers: Pepper and Salt Skipper is small and dark above but is much lighter below, with a white spot band across HW. Dusted Skipper is also very dark but is much larger and has white around eye and on palps. Dusted and Pepper and Salt have only one brood in spring. Therefore, any tiny, dark skipper seen in late July and early August is probably a Common Roadside.

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. Rare and very local throughout.

NJ Range Map-Common Roadside-Skipper

Habitat: Open, dry, often disturbed, areas. Unreported from gardens probably because of its overall rarity.

Flight Period: Two broods, with the second brood smaller. North Jersey: Mid-May to mid-June, and late July to mid-August. Extreme dates: North Jersey 5/14—8/1; South Jersey 5/11—5/27.

Larval Food Plants: Many upland grasses.

Overwintering Stage: Pupa, possibly larva.

Best Locations: Worthington SF (Raccoon Ridge), Dennisville RR tracks.

Best Locations: Common Roadside-Skipper is anything but common, as most sightings are of 1-3 individuals. This butterfly is so small and dark that it can be mistaken for a large fly or small beetle.

Common Roadside-Skipper

Raccoon Ridge, Warren Co., NJ, 5/30/05.

Common Roadside-Skipper

Raccoon Ridge, Warren Co., NJ, 5/27/11.