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Common Roadside Skipper (Amblyscirtes vialis)

Description: This is a very small, dark skipper. Both wings have checkered fringes, and the forewing has a tight cluster of small white spots that appear as a single spot on the leading edge. The underside hindwing is unmarked and fresh specimens have a purplish sheen. Common Roadside Skipper is similar to Pepper and Salt Skipper. In that species the white spots on the forewing are not limited to the margin, the hindwing is lightly spotted, and fresh specimens have a greenish sheen. Wingspan: 18 to 25 mm.

Maritime Distribution: Widespread in southern New Brunswick, rare in mainland Nova Scotia, not recorded from Cape Breton or Prince Edward Island. For Atlas results click here.

Provincial Ranks: NB: S5. NS: S3S4. PEI: -.

Flight Period: Late May to mid July.

Host Plant: A variety of grasses (Poaceae) including Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis) and bent grasses (Agrostis spp.).

Notes: Common Roadside Skipper, as the name implies, is typically found along wood roads where it lands on the ground and low vegetation, but it is rarely common in the Maritimes. Its small size, dark appearance and quick flight make it hard to follow once it has been disturbed. Though similar in appearance to Pepper and Salt Skipper, the two species favour different habitats.