Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hayhurst Scallopwing

Tonight while outside photographing the insects attracted to the only thing blooming in my yard, the peppermint, I noticed this dark butterfly. I wasn't familiar with it and at first thought it was a sootywing of some sort. I posted this image to facebook and my friend Betsy Betros was able to identify it for me as a hayhurst scallopwing (Staphylus hayhurstii). 

She said this species is fairly easy to tell apart from the other small black butterflies by the wavy, or scalloped wings. These butterflies belong in the family hesperiidae with the skippers . Most skippers are tiny butterflies with upfolded wings when in the resting position. This species is a spread-wing skipper measuring up to 1 1/4 inches and rests like other butterflies with its wings open. They are dark with checkered fringe and tiny transparent spots on their wings. Those spots are visible in this picture as two tiny dots near the corner of the forewing.

Hayhurst scallopwings can be found throughout the eastern portion of the United States as well as in Texas. They occur in a wide variety of habitats including open woodlands, backyards, roadsides, and weedy lots. The adults nectar at most any flower but seem fond of peppermint,marigolds, clover, cucumber and dogbane. 

Males will perch low in vegetation to attract passing females and will mate with receptive females. Eggs will be laid one at a time on the leaves of host plants such as Lambsquarters, in the goosefoot family, and occasionally chaff flower (Alternanthera) in the pigweed family. In Missouri there will be two broods, one in the spring and one in the late summer.
Thanks Betsy for the ID on this subtly beautiful butterfly.


  1. I would really like to improve my insect knowledge and would add so much to my time outside. Thanks for writing about this stuff, it's a big help.

    Did I recently see a letter about snapping turtles written by you in the last Audubon magazine? Very cool.


    1. I'm so glad you are finding the insect posts helpful, I just need to work on getting posts on here more frequently. Seems it is hard to find the time.

      I'm not sure if the letter is mine or not. I did write a response to the article on their website right after it came out as it was a very good article. It could be that they published my comment. Would you be able to send it to me? I haven't taken the Audubon magazine for about a year now.
      My address is
      Shelly Cox (C.I.G.)
      MDC NW Regional Office
      701 James McCarthy Drive
      St. Joseph, MO 64507

  2. Unless there's another Shelly Cox in Missouri that commented on the article, it was yours. Hm...I think I left the copy in Alabama and won't be back anytime soon, but I'll check.


    1. Well.... there is another Shelly Cox and believe it or not she lives about 25 miles from me, has my same doctor and even has a husband named Joey, just like creepy is that? :o)

      But, I do not think she left a comment on the turtle article, so I would say it was me....LOL

      Thanks for checking to see if you still have it. I would love to see it. I keep things like that in an album (always think the kids might appreciate it one day )

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