Male, ~1.2cm. North Main Divide, Cleveland National Forest, Orange County, CA. 09/08/09. © Peter J. Bryant.

Woodland Skipper

Ochlodes sylvanoides

Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae

Back to Butterflies of Orange County, California
Back to Arthropods of Orange County, California
Back to Natural History of Orange County, California


Female, ~1.2cm. North Main Divide, Cleveland National Forest, Orange County, CA. 09/08/09. © Peter J. Bryant.

Female, ~1.2cm. North Main Divide, Cleveland National Forest, Orange County, CA. 09/08/09. © Peter J. Bryant.

Female nectaring on vinegar weed, Trichostema lanceolatum. Black Star Canyon, Orange County, CA. 09/04/10. © Peter J. Bryant.

Female nectaring on vinegar weed, Trichostema lanceolatum, showing triggering of anther movement, possibly to deposit pollen on the wings of the insect or to pick it up, in an example of trigger pollination although this is usually reported as happening with hummingbirds. Black Star Canyon, Orange County, CA. 09/04/10. © Peter J. Bryant.

James Dilley Preserve, Laguna Beach, Orange County, CA. 8-25-08. © Ron Hemberger

Irvine Regional Park, Orange, Orange County, CA. 9-21-08. © Ron Hemberger

Characteristics: Dorsal wing surface yellow brown with brown markings. Dorsal hindwing a uniform yellow-brown. Forewing length: 11-14 mm.

Similar Species: Very similar to Ochlodes agricola agricola. The Woodland Skipper can be distinguished from that species, however, by the absence of hyaline (translucent) spots on the dorsal forewing.

Habitats, Behavior: The Woodland Skipper occurs most often in undisturbed sites. Moist wooded canyons are good potential areas to look for sylvanoides. The species appears rather localized at Upper Newport Bay (east side) and has been taken there at only one or two spots, nectaring at Haplopappus blossoms.

Distribution: Canyons in the Santa Ana Mountains and foothills, Aliso Canyon, VillaPark Dam, the Laguna Lakes, and Upper Newport Bay encompass the present known distribution of the species in Orange County .

Flight Period: Our records range from late May into October. Most records are from July, although the species is abundant in Silverado Canyon during September.

Larval Foodplants: Unidentified species of grasses.

Other Remarks: The Woodland Skipper is probably fairly common in the canyons of the Santa Ana Mountains and foothills of Orange County. The fire closure period, however, prevents lepidopterists from exploring much of this range during the Woodland Skipper's peak flight period.

From Orsak, L. J. (1977). The Butterflies of Orange County, California. Center for Pathobiology Miscellaneous Publication #3. University of California Press, New York. 349pp.

Return to Butterflies and their larval foodplants
Return to Natural History of Orange County, California