Pholisora catullus crestar

Common Sootywing

This subspecies was described in 2017 by James Scott and Ken Davenport in Scott's Papilio, New Series #26. "Scott noticed that the Pholisora catullus (Hesperidae) 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 hind wing (and usually on forewing); they represent a new subspecies, because those white dots are much less common elsewhere." I've found this butterfly - as well as the nominate subspecies - to be uncommon. In the years to come I'd love to get photographs that really illustrate the features described in this article.

Crestar is a butterfly of Kern and Tulare Counties, blending with nominate catullus in the San Joaquin Valley. 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 catullus crestar - Common Sootywing
Pholisora catullus crestar at Alder Creek, Sherman Pass Road in the Sequoia National Forest, Tulare County on July 20, 2008.
Pholisora catullus crestar - Common Sootywing
The ventral side of Pholisora catullus crestar along the Sherman Pass Road in a canyon at 4900' elevation. April 20, 2014.
Pholisora catullus crestar - Common Sootywing
Same individual as above a minute later.

©Dennis Walker