Pholisora crestar

Common Sootywing

This skipper was described as a subspecies of Pholisora catullus in 2017 by James Scott and Ken Davenport in Scott's Papilio, New Series #26. "Scott noticed that the Pholisora catullus (Hesperiidae) specimens collected in the southern Sierra Nevada of California by Ken Davenport differ by usually having a conspicuous submarginal row of tiny white dots on the hind wing (and usually on forewing); they represent a new subspecies, because those white dots are much less common elsewhere." DNA testing in 2020* suggested it was a different species from catullus.

Crestar is a butterfly of Kern and Tulare Counties. For host plants, the authors write, "larvae of this Common Sooty Wing butterfly eat the weedy plants of Amaranthaceae (Amaranthus, Chenopodium, sometimes Atriplex and Celosia)." Generally, adults fly from late March into June, which means my July 20th encounter at Alder Creek is something of an outlier.

Pholisora crestar - Common Sootywing
Pholisora crestar at Alder Creek, Sherman Pass Road in the Sequoia National Forest, Tulare County on July 20, 2008.
Pholisora crestar - Common Sootywing
The ventral side of Pholisora crestar along the Sherman Pass Road in a canyon at 4900' elevation. April 20, 2014.
Pholisora crestar - Common Sootywing
Same individual as above a minute later.

©Dennis Walker