Butterflies of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance

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Once on a species account page, clicking on the "View PDF" link will show the flight data for that species, for each of the three regions of the state.
Other information, such as high counts and earliest/latest dates, can also been seen on the PDF page.

Related Species in HESPERIIDAE:
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Common NameWhite Checkered-Skipper by H. LeGrand => Pinned male collected by R. Newman
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Scientific NameBurnsius albezens
MapClick on a county for list of all database records for the species in that county.
DistributionDISTRIBUTION: A recent arrival from our south, and likely a resident species now. It is possible that it is simply a stray/visitor, with no breeding populations. Specimens are now known from Brunswick (2018), Mecklenburg (2018), and Carteret (2006) counties, and recent sight reports from Brunswick (2013), Richmond (2016), and New Hanover (2020) counties. This species ranges across the southern quarter of the United States, from CA east to FL. It has been rapidly spreading northward and now is known across most of SC, except for the mountains. It has also been collected (in 2010) in northern VA.
AbundanceABUNDANCE: Not known, but certainly increasing. As the only known way to separate the species from the Common Checkered-Skipper is by dissection of the male genitalia, any picture of the abundance (and range) will be slow in coming, unless there is more collection and examination of male specimens. Currently, seemingly very rare or rare in the southeastern and extreme southern parts of the state.
FlightFLIGHT PERIOD: Probably summer and fall. The only dates available are from July 13 to November 2. However, if it is a breeding resident, it might first emerge in spring (as does the Common Checkered-Skipper).
HabitatHABITAT: The Carteret record (of a male, and perhaps a female) came from sandy lawns/grassy areas immediately along the coast. The sight report from Brunswick County came from a sandy area within a pine flatwoods, also very near the coast; the sight report from Richmond County came from a sandy roadside not far from the SC border. The collection from Brunswick County came from a vacant, weedy field, only a few miles away from the Brunswick sight report; and specimens from Mecklenburg County came from a restored "prairie". The species likely occurs in sandier or drier habitats than for Common Checkered-Skipper, which is mainly found in NC around mesic disturbed places such as cultivated field margins, waste lots, lawns, and gardens. These habitat differences are speculation, especially as Whites occurs in desert habitats where Commons are rare to absent.
PlantsFOOD AND NECTAR PLANTS: The foodplants are mallows (Malvaceae), chiefly or solely Sida species in the Southeast. It likely nectars on flowers growing close to the ground, as does the Common Checkered-Skipper.
CommentsCOMMENTS: The three specimens have been collected by Randy Newman at Fort Macon State Park, by Derb Carter near the SC line in Brunswick County, and by Rob Gilson in Mecklenburg County; Steve Hall dissected the first two, and determined by the valve of the genitalia (male) that each of the three is a White Checkered-Skipper. Harry Pavulaan collected the species in northern VA in October 2010. However, it is possible that the individual collected in VA was a stray, or visitor from the west or southwest. One should not assume that the "vanguard" of the species has "marched" all the way through NC and north to southern VA -- several males collected north of Durham in October 2012 were clearly Commons (by dissection), as were other checkered-skippers collected by Pavulaan recently in northern VA. However, one wonders if White Checkered-Skippers have moved farther north well beyond Mecklenburg County by now; judicious collection and dissection of males in the central and northern portions of NC are welcome and warranted.

This skipper is considered a good/separate species from Common Checkered-Skipper by many authorities, such as the Butterflies of America website and Pelham (2020). The male genitalia of White Checkered-Skipper has a rounded valve with a single tiny tooth, as opposed to a "clawlike" valve with two prongs, somewhat resembling the claw of a crab or crayfish, in Common. See the Common Checkered-Skipper account for some suggested field marks to separate these two species. The Common is being "pushed northward" or is being eliminated by the White in FL, GA, and SC, such that the majority of those collected now in most of SC are Whites. NOTE: In 2022, the scientific name was changed from "albescens" to "albezens", as the first name is now applied to a Central American taxon.
State RankSU
State StatusW
Global RankG5
Federal Status
SynonymBurnsius albescens, Pyrgus albescens
Other Name


Links to other butterfly galleries: [Cook] [Lynch] [Pippen] [Pugh]
Photo by: Rick Cheicante
Comment: 2013-07-29. Monroe Co. FL female
White Checkered-Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Rick Cheicante
Comment: 2013-07-29. Monroe Co. FL female
White Checkered-Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Dennis M Forsythe
Comment: June 13, 2020. Calhoun Co., SC. male #1. NOTE: Dennis stated that all male specimens from this part of SC in recent years have been White Checkered-Skippers, as opposed to Common Checkered-Skippers.
White Checkered-Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Dennis M Forsythe
Comment: June 13, 2020. Calhoun Co., SC. male #2 (different individual from #1 and #3)
White Checkered-Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Dennis M Forsythe
Comment: June 13, 2020. Calhoun Co, SC. male #3 (different individual from #1 and #2). Notice the general lack of greenish-blue or obvious blue hairs on these males; Commons average a more blue color on the hairs on the body and wing bases.
White Checkered-Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Steve Hall
Comment: Male genitalia valve. Collected by Derb Carter along US 17 within a mile of the SC line; Brunswick Co., NC; 2 Nov 2018. Examined by Steve Hall.
White Checkered-Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Steve Hall
Comment: Pinned male. Collected by Derb Carter along US 17 within a mile of the SC line; Brunswick Co., NC; 2 Nov 2018. Examined by Steve Hall.
White Checkered-Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: H. LeGrand
Comment: 2006-July-13. Pinned male. Collected by Randy Newman at Ft. Macon State Park, Carteret Co. Examined by Steve Hall.
White Checkered-Skipper - Click to enlarge