The Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides)

The Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides) gets the name Ochlodes which is Greek from its erratic and turbulent looking flight. While the name sylvanoides is derived from silva in Latin meaning woods.

Identification: Wingspan typically 2.5cm – 3.2cm. The upperside of the wings are orange and with toothed brown edges. The underside colour varies from yellow to reddish brown, and the hindwings vary in colour from having a large red-orange patch, to a band of cream, to yellow spots.

Life Cycle: One brood annually. The first larvae hibernate overwinter feeding the following spring, then pupate and spawn as adult butterflies in the summer and fall. The adult Skippers fly from July to October in its southern range, and July to September in its northern range.

Range: This species of butterfly in the Hesperiidae family is commonly found throughout western North America, from southern California to southern British Columbia and Alberta.

Habitats: The Skipper is usually seen in open brush habitats, woodland clearings, chaparral, gardens, and small streams.


  • Lavae (caterpillars) feed on grasses including Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon), canary grass (Phalaris), wildrye (Elymus spp.), and wheatgrass (Agropyron spp.).
  • Adult (butterflies) feed on nectar from various flowering plants. Favourites include marigold, dandelion, butterfly-bush, lavender, mint, oregano, thyme, and rosemary.



Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) – Collecting and Sharing Data Ochlodes sylvanoides

Butterflies of Canada (CBIF) – Woodland Skipper

Master Gardeners of BC – Article: Woodland Skipper