Ochlodes agricola agricola (Boisduval, 1852)

Rural Skipper or the Farmer

This skipper is not uncommon in our southern California foothills from May until July. It flies in some of the same habitat as the Woodland Skipper, Ochlodes sylvanoides, but the flights overlap and the latter flies into the autumn months. In late May and early June, sylvanoides should not yet be on the wing, so there is much less potential confusion with identifications of these skippers, some of which may be difficult to tell apart if they are flying together.

What is now known as Ochlodes agricola was originally named Hesperia agricola by Boisduval in 1852 based on a male collected in California by Pierre Lorquin during the gold rush. Emmel, Emmel, and Mattoon (p.21 in the Systematics tome) restricted the type locality to a colony in southern Marin County: a slope 2 miles SSE of Sausalito. Why there? Because Lorquin probably collected his Lycaena heteronea at the same place and time - a day trip from San Francisco, and a more likely place to encounter a population of agricola.

Ochlodes agricola agricola - Rural Skipper
A male Rural Skipper, Malibu Creek State Park on May 23, 2006.
Ochlodes agricola agricola - Rural Skipper
Another male. Moro Cyn, Crystal Cove State Pk, Orange Co. June 10, 2007.
Ochlodes agricola agricola - Rural Skipper
This Rural Skipper is a female. Moro Cyn, Crystal Cove State Pk, Orange Co. June 10, 2007.
Ochlodes agricola agricola - Rural Skipper
Female from Icehouse Canyon, June 22, 2007.
Ochlodes agricola agricola - Rural Skipper
Both sexes from Moro Canyon on June 10, 2007.
Ochlodes agricola agricola - Rural Skipper
Charles Oberthür's illustration of Boisduval's type specimen of Ochlodes agricola. He only had a male. This was published in 1913 in Études de Lépidoptérologie Comparée, p.43 and plate CCXL, combined here for convenience.

©Dennis Walker