The Roadside Skipper is a uniform dark chocolate brown on the uppersides of the wings. There is a faint row of median light spots on the dorsal forewing. On the underside, the same brown ground colour appears grey due to the presence of white scales on the outer half of both forewing and hindwing.
Scudder (1889b) described the immatures. The egg is pale green and wider than high. The mature larval head appears white due to a covering of short white hairs. There are also several reddish brown vertical stripes on the head. The body of the larva is pallid green and has many pale green spots, each with a short hair. The prolegs are pale green.
None. The type locality of the species is western IL.
The Latin vialis means "highway": thus the origin of the common name "Roadside Skipper" used by Scudder (1889b). At the time Edwards described this species from Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Rock Island, Illinois, there were few roads in either area and it is unlikely that he had the Latin meaning in mind; the original description does not help explain the intended meaning. It is unfortunate that the common name was coined because, at least in the west, this species is not common along roadsides.
The name Amblyscirtes may be derived from ambl (blunt) and skirtao (leap), perhaps referring to the short, hopping flights of members of this genus (Bird et al. 1995). The generic common name "roadside skippers" (Scudder 1889b) is derived from the most common species in the genus, "the" Roadside Skipper, A. vialis. The genus Amblyscirtes is Nearctic, with 20 species found mostly from northern Mexico through the eastern United States. Only one species occurs in British Columbia.
In BC the Roadside Skipper is univoltine. It flies from mid-May to mid-June, with occasional females seen until mid-July. Elsewhere in the southern limits of the species' range, it is double-brooded. Scudder mentions the larval foodplant as "grasses."
The Roadside Skipper is found across southern BC and in the Peace River region. It is found in mesic grassy meadows, especially in aspen forest and riparian habitat.
The Roadside Skipper ranges from BC to NS and south in the western USA to central CA and northern NM in mesic habitats, especially aspen forests. In the east it occurs south to TX and FL.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2012. E-Fauna BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab
for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
5/24/2013 4:01:54 AM]
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