Common Sootywing

Pholisora catullus

This species is a fairly regular immigrant to Wisconsin. I had only seen this species once where I live in Waushara County, and believed that this species was an uncommon migrant, but I have seen this species nearly every year in the southern part of the state since 2003.

Weekly sightings for Common Sootywing

Identifying characteristics

This species is a very dark, blackish-brown skipper with many small white spots on the wings that can be seen from above and below. This species flies very close to the ground, often in parking lots or gravel roadsides, and when it lands it is often seen hunkered down, as in the third image, without spreading its wings fully.

Similar species

None in Wisconsin.

Habitat

Old fields, disturbed areas, gravel parking lots, and roadsides. It larval host plants are weedy species including Lamb’s-quarters (Chenopodium album).

Flight

This species has two broods farther south and could be expected in Wisconsin from May to September.

Abundance

A fairly regular immigrant to Wisconsin from farther south. This species is usually found in small groups.

Late Common Sootywing Sightings

Date County Reported by
Aug 28, 2013 Grant Karl and Dorothy Legler
Aug 28, 2011 Green Craig Ellefson
Aug 29, 2005 Green Lake Thomas Schultz
Aug 30, 2017 Dunn Pam Campbell
Sep 24, 2012 Iowa Karl and Dorothy Legler

Locations

Map showing sighting locations for Common Sootywing
Map key
Common SootywingClick to enlarge

Hardscrabble SNA, Lafayette Co., WI. July 2, 2006.

Common SootywingClick to enlarge

Puchyan Prairie SNA, Green Lake Co., WI, July 7, 2005.

Common SootywingClick to enlarge

Trempealeau State Park, Trempealeau Co., WI. July 11, 2003.

Common SootywingClick to enlarge

Hardscrabble SNA, Lafayette Co., WI. July 2, 2006. Same individual as the photo above.

Common SootywingClick to enlarge

Puchyan Prairie SNA, Green Lake Co., WI, July 7, 2005.