Butterflies of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance

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Scientific Name begins with:
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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 NamePepper and Salt Skipper by Roger Rittmaster => Buncombe Co.
[View PDF]
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[Google Images]     BoA [Images ]
Scientific NameAmblyscirtes hegon
Link to BAMONA species account.
MapClick on a county for list of all database records for the species in that county.
DistributionDISTRIBUTION: Occurs throughout the mountains and presumably most or all of the Piedmont, but few records for the upper 2/3rds of the Piedmont (except for foothill ranges). Thus, the currently known range is mainly the mountains, Piedmont foothills, and the lower Piedmont, but it should be assumed to be present throughout these two provinces. The range extends eastward to Halifax, Wake, and Richmond counties.
AbundanceABUNDANCE: Uncommon (but easily overlooked) in the mountains and adjacent Piedmont foothills; rare to very uncommon in the northeastern Piedmont, but rare (presumably) in most of the Piedmont. Whether it is actually more numerous in the northeastern Piedmont than in the central or western parts of the province is uncertain and may be an artifact of field work. Absent (so far as known) from the Coastal Plain.
FlightFLIGHT PERIOD: Primarily a spring brood, but it appears to have a smaller second brood in early summer (unless this is a very delayed first brood); most references say the species only has one brood, but the flight charts say otherwise. Mainly early or mid-April to late May (Piedmont) and to early June (mountains); the second brood occurs from mid-June to early or mid-July in the mountains. The mysteriously tiny second brood in the Piedmont occurs in July, but much more data are needed. These two flight charts are quite baffling, at least figuring out what is going on with the flights after the end of May, and why the Piedmont pattern is so different from the mountain one. However, the individuals in July in the mountains and Piedmont are fresh, as opposed to worn; this strongly suggests a second brood. Note that all five other roadside-skippers (Amblyscirtes spp.) in NC, not to mention the near-to-NC Bell's Roadside-Skipper, have two or three broods in NC, so it seems highly unlikely that this single species in the genus would have such a stretched out "first brood" -- three months -- that it represents just one brood instead of two.
HabitatHABITAT: This is one of the few skippers found inside rich or moist hardwood forests. Of course, it is not found in the deep shade, but it occurs along sunny trails or roads through such rich areas. Favored habitats are trails or logging roads through coves, or dirt roads through other moist hardwood forests or along creeks. In 1994, I also saw them along a trail in an upland forest and even along the margin of a thicket!
See also Habitat Account for Rich Wet-Mesic Hardwood Forests
PlantsFOOD AND NECTAR PLANTS: The foodplants are various native grasses, presumably those adapted to growing in shade or partial shade of moist forests. The species nectars infrequently; it usually is seen perched on moist dirt of trails and dirt roads, or perched on leaves on the ground.
CommentsCOMMENTS: This tiny skipper is always a thrill to spot. It is a tame species, which will allow an observer to "belly up" to it to see it well as it perches on the ground. It has a unique ground color on the under wings, a somewhat olive-gray-buff color with a peppered look that is easily recognized in the field, regardless of the pattern of buffy spots and patches. It is typically the first grass skipper flying in the mountains in spring.

I assume the near absence of records for the northwestern quarter of the Piedmont is an artifact of field work. Certainly, spring and summer field work has been conducted in the region, so it obviously is not numerous. But, plenty of habitat appears to be present at places such as the Brushy Mountains, Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock state parks, and other heavily wooded sites.

State RankS4
State Status
Global RankG5
Federal Status
Other Name

Links to other butterfly galleries: [Cook] [Lynch] [Pippen] [Pugh]
Photo Gallery for Pepper and Salt Skipper
Photo by: Roger Rittmaster
Comment: Buncombe Co.
Pepper and Salt Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Jeff Pippen
Comment: Clay Co.; 21 May 2005
Pepper and Salt Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Sven Halling
Comment: Apr 11, 2014, Madison County
Pepper and Salt Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Sven Halling
Comment: Apr 11, 2014, Madison County
Pepper and Salt Skipper - Click to enlarge