Skippers: scarce streaky-skipper (Celotes limpia)
(Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae: Pyrginae)
Profile prepared by Mace Vaughan and Matthew Shepherd
The scarce streaky-skipper is restricted to desert foothills, gullies, and washes that support desert scrub or open woodland in a small area of Coahila and north of the U.S. border in only four Texas counties. It lives up to its name and is scarce or rare throughout its entire range. Its habitat is vulnerable to invasion by alien weeds, and, in Mexico, thorn scrub habitat is being lost.
Xerces Red List Status: Vulnerable Other Rankings: Canada – Species at Risk Act: N/A Canada – provincial status: N/A Mexico: None USA – Endangered Species Act: None USA – state status: None NatureServe: G2 IUCN Red List: N/A
The scarce streaky-skipper is scarce or rare throughout its entire range. It has no protection at either federal or state level in either country.
The scarce streaky-skipper is in the family Hesperiidae (skippers). It is a small butterfly, with a wingspan between 25 mm and 32 mm (1 to 1¼ inches). The upperside of the wings are covered in a streaky pattern of various shades of brown (from orange- to dark-brown) and black. Each wing has an irregular median band of small transparent spots and checkered fringes.
Very similar to the slightly smaller common streaky-skipper (Celotes nessus; 22 mm to 30 mm [1ₖ to 1 3/16 inches] wingspan), the scarce streaky-skipper can only be identified with certainty by dissection and scrutiny of the male genitalia.
Celotes limpia (Burns), 1974.
This streaky-skipper is restricted to desert foothills, gullies, and washes that support desert scrub or open woodland. Several mallow species are used as larval hostplants, including globemallow (Sphaeralcea sp.) and texasfan (Meximalva filipes; also called violet sida).
The life history is not fully known. There are two or more flight periods between March and September. Males patrol close to the ground to find females. Caterpillars eat leaves of the hostplants and hibernate as fully-grown caterpillars.
The range of this butterfly is very restricted: the main part is in a small area of Coahila and it is found north of the Mexican border in only four Texas counties.
Courtesy of Butterflies and Moths of North America, Big Sky Institute.
Much of the scarce streaky-skipper’s habitat is vulnerable to invasion by alien weeds. In Mexico, thorn scrub habitat is being lost.
The known populations should be protected and their habitat managed to ensure presence of adequate hostplants and nectar plants.
Studies of the life history and phenology would be valuable. Currently, the timing of life history stages is not known and the larval hostplant and adult nectar plants are not known with certainty. Monitoring of known populations should be done to assess status, as should monitoring of habitat changes, such as vegetation changes due to invasive weeds.
Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.
Stanford, R. E., and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies Including Adjacent Parts of Canada and Mexico. Denver and Fort Collins, CO.
Tilden, J. W. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, MA.
Big Sky Institute, Butterflies and Moths of North America: scarce streaky-skipper (Accessed 1/21/09)
Neartica; The Butterflies and Skippers of North America: scarce streaky-skipper (Accessed 5/9/05)
NatureServe Explorer (Accessed 9/23/08)
Vaughan, D. M., and M. D. Shepherd. 2005. Species Profile: Celotes limpia. In Shepherd, M. D., D. M. Vaughan, and S. H. Black (Eds). Red List of Pollinator Insects of North America. CD-ROM Version 1 (May 2005). Portland, OR: The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.