3/4-1 1/4" (19-32 mm). Extremely variable. Above can be quite blackish with little white checkering (especially in female) or very pale with broad bands of white spots
(particularly males); usually some black at base and often considerable bluish hairy scaling. Below, FW similar to upperside but paler; HW pale eggshell-white to yellowish, crossed by 2 major and 2 minor rows of olive-tan to olive-green spots normally linked into solid bands, outlined finely with black or brown scales. Fringes checkered with gray and white.
White Checkered Skipper similar. Small Checkered Skipper lacks black outlines to olive spots below, usually has less white above. Tropical Checkered Skipper has little black above, no olive below. Desert Checkered Skipper gray or silvery below. Large White Skipper larger, white, lacks black at bases above.
Egg changes from green to cream-color before hatching. Caterpillar tan with darker median line, brown and white side lines, and black head. Chrysalis greener toward head and browner toward tip; has dark speckles and dashes in bands. Host plants
are available mallows (Malvaceae).
Successive broods; year-round in far South, April-October in Midwest.
Foothills, weedy plains, fields, roadsides, riverbanks, valley bottoms, gardens, vacant lots, and parks.
S. Canada to Argentina, but absent from northwest states and north of Massachusetts.
The Common Checkered Skipper is considered by many to be the most common skipper in North America. Highly aggressive, males of this species patrol tightly circumscribed territories, darting out at passing objects. Because this species can exploit hollyhock, hibiscus, or cheeseweed in towns as well.