North American Range
The Common Roadside-skipper is neither common nor necessarily roadside, though it does tend to take minerals and moisture from bare soil areas like roadsides. These butterflies have a widespread range, but are uncommon throughout it; they are generalists and utilize many different habitats, but are rare within their favored environments. It may be more common than we suspect, but it is inconspicuous and a fast flier and it is possible that many are missed. To await receptive females, males perch on the ground or low plants in forest openings or edges, waving their antennae in small circles. Females deposit eggs singly on the host plants; caterpillars eat leaves, and make shelters of rolled and tied leaves. Caterpillars overwinter.
A very small skipper. Upperside is black with a few small white spots at the tip of the forewing. Underside is dark brown with violet-gray at the forewing tip and the outer half of the hindwing.
Like other grass skippers, it had a short flight period beginning in June and lasting through the middle of July during VBS. Extreme dates: 24 May 1995 in Milton (S. Griggs), 31 May 2004 in Bloomfield (B. Pfeiffer) and 14 July 2007 in Lunenburg (A. Aversa).
Distribution and Habitat
Many field guide range maps depict it across Vermont. But the Common Roadside Skipper was only found a predominantly east of the Green Mountains. Their preferred habitats tend to be open areas near woodlands, often close to streams. They can also be found on barrens and in dry disturbed areas. Host plants are various grasses including Wild Oats (Avena), Bent Grass (Agrostis), Bluegrass (Poa), and Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon). Adults prefer to nectar from low growing blue flowers like Selfheal (Prunella), but are not often seen nectaring.