Pyrgus communis

This familiar insect appears to be found from sea level to tree line-but things are more complicated than that. At the molecular-genetic level, the populations along our transect are apparently two different species. One is multiple-brooded and occurs as high as Lang Crossing (5000') on the Sierran West slope, and then again in Sierra Valley at 5000' on the East slope.

Pyrgus ruralis

A species of cool, moist montane meadows and their edges, where the host plants (Horkelia, family Rosaceae) grow. However, adults can often be seen flying along paths or trails and perching on bare ground there. They are low fliers and addicted to Pussy-Paws, but will visit other early flowers with short corollas as available. They do not visit flowers of their host plant.

Pyrgus scriptura

Local but sometimes common with its host plant in the Central Valley and Delta, generally on compacted alkaline clay soils. The Small Checkered Skipper has a "busy" flight just above the ground like a bee. The first brood is phenotypically very similar to the Two-Banded Skipper (with which it never co-occurs), but summer broods are smaller and very dark above, with the white markings reduced to tiny spots. Males fly along roadsides and if perching, sit at ground level.