As with other species of skippers, there can be a lot of variation in pattern and coloration. Once considered a subspecies of the Common Branded Skipper (Hesperia comma), most resources now consider the Western Branded its own species. They can be found in sunny, open areas—forest openings, meadows, fields, roadsides, and alpine habitats from mid July to late September. Adults sip nectar from flowers like this vibrant Dotted Blazing Star (Liatris punctata), as well as asters and goldenrods. Larvae feed on various grasses including fescue (Festuca), brome (Bromus), bluegrass (Poa), needlegrass (Stipa), and beardgrass (Andropogon); sedges. The next generation will overwinter as eggs.
Size: Forewing 1.3-1.6 cm
Photo by: Karen Weaver on 7/31/22 in Helena, MT