Comprehensive Description

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General Description

Distinguishing species of the genus Hesperia can be a challenge even to the experienced lepidopterist; differences in wing markings are subtle, and are best appreciated by looking at series of individuals from any given locality. The Common Branded Skipper can usually be separated from the Plains Skipper (H. assiniboia) and the Nevada Skipper (H. nevada) by habitat, since both of the latter species are primarily prairie inhabitants; The Nevada Skipper can also be distinguished by its larger size, pale greenish underside ground colour, and by the ventral hindwing maculation: the spot nearest the abdomen is more or less in line with the adjacent spots in H. comma, whereas this spot is offset towards the wing base in H. nevada. Additional characters that distinguish comma include the darker underside ground colour and a 'stubbier' forewing shape. H. comma was described from Europe, and our subspecies, manitoba (Scudder), may prove to be distinct at the species level from the true comma.

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