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About Applegater. (Jacksonville, OR) 2008-current | View Entire Issue (May 1, 2021)
Applegater Spring 2021
The Common Checkered Skipper can turn blue!
BY LINDA KAPPEN
The Common Checkered Skipper,
Burnsius communis, formerly known as
Pyrgus communis, is of the Hesperiidae
family of butterflies. The taxonomic
revision came in the year 2020. Guidebooks
and other articles may still show the former
pyrgus taxonomy for years to come.
The wingspan of this small butterfly is
one to one-and-a-half inches. The dorsal
view of the wings (see photo) displays
a tesselated pattern of white checkered
spots and a black background. The ventral
view shows bands of olive and tan with
The Common Checkered Skipper uses
plants in the Mallow family (Malvaceae)
as host plants. In mid elevations of
mountain ranges, it may use streambank
globemallow as a host plant.
The female lays eggs singly on host
plants, where the caterpillars live and
feed inside folded leaf nests. Up to
three generations can occur throughout
spring to fall. Fully grown larvae
This butterfly ranges in all of Oregon
except in the very far northwest corner
of the state. It also occurs in much of the
United States and southern Canada.
Common Checkered Skippers like
many varieties of habitat and can be found
in disturbed spots of our foothills and
towns and in open spaces such as pastures,
yards, gardens, fields, and forest openings.
They like to nectar on many annual
varieties, many wildflowers, and even the
flowers of the hostplants.
There is something special about
having this butterfly around most of the
butterfly season from March to nearly fall.
This Skipper has long hairs that refract
in the sunlight to make the wings look
blue! Seeing this as the butterfly is in
flight tricks many adults and children into
thinking they are seeing or chasing a blue
butterfly—until it lands, which is when
the black-and-white checkered pattern
pops out as it sits with its wings open. An
experienced eye still sees the flash of blue
as the butterfly quickly skips by.
It is quite amazing to see this butterfly
turn blue before your very eyes with
the right combination of sunlight, fur,
Linda Kappen is a southern Oregon naturalist
specializing in lepidoptera.
Photo, top right: The dorsal (upper side) view of a female Common Checkered Skipper.
Photo, bottom right: The dorsal view of a male Common Checkered Skipper.
Photos: Linda Kappen.
Opening up scouting
opportunities for girls
BY ERIK JOHNSEN
Hello again, neighbors! I wanted to
give you an update on what local scouts
are up to. It’s certainly been a challenging
six months, but we’ve been trying
to meet those challenges with optimism
As we all know, some devastating
f i res ri ppe d t hrough Ta lent a nd
P h o e n i x i n Se p t e m b e r, b u t o u r
local scout groups tried to rise to
Scouts BSA Troop 17 in Jacksonville
gathered food, clothing, and necessities
at the Bigham Knoll Campus and delivered
them to the Jacksonville Presbyterian
Church, which served as a shelter
to displaced families. Cub Scout Pack
17 used its regular meeting to organize
school supply kits for displaced families
and wrote thank-you cards to
In October, both groups helped with
fall clean-up at the Jacksonville Cemetery,
and we participated in the annual Scouting
for Food drive in November to help needy
families over the holidays. In December,
our Cub Scout pack joined up with the
Salvation Army to help sort and distribute
toys and clothes at their annual Toys for
Tots event, which was very rewarding for
our youth and a lot of fun!
While the latest COVID lock-down
has certainly put a damper on things,
we’re still finding creative ways to stay
active. Our Cub Scout pack hiked the
Enchanted Forest Trail in the Applegate
in December, followed by an astronomy
evening at Ruch Outdoor Community
School to view the Jupiter and Saturn
convergence. In January, we went sledding
at Table Mountain Snow Park, which
replaced our annual sledding event with
the Crater Lake Council, canceled due to
Our latest initiative, which I am
most excited to share with you, is that
our Scout Troop 17 in Jacksonville
will begin accepting girls this February!
While the national BSA organization
permitted girls to enter the Scouts
BSA program a couple of years ago, it
is up to each troop to determine if,
when, and how they can incorporate girls
into their program. Much of this is
based on interest and demand, and our
Cub Scout Pack 17 is graduating our
first group of girls to the troop, so now
is our time! To make this an awesome
experience for all, we’re looking for
interested families to come check us out!
With scouting, it really is “the more,
In December 2020, Cub Scouts hiked and explored the Enchanted Forest Trail
in the Applegate, That evening they attended an astronomy viewing
at Ruch Outdoor Community School.
Photo: Erik Johnsen.
On Sunday, February 21, we held
an open house on the Bigham Knoll
campus in Jacksonville that was timed to
include a live stream from the national
BSA organization, which honored the
first girls in the nation to earn their
Eagle Scout award. We also provided
information about scouting and our troop
and demonstrations of what we do.
Most girls inquiring about our program
seem to be interested in the outdoor
activities and wilderness survival aspects of
what we do, so we’ll be sure to offer some
exciting demonstrations about that. We
hope you come check us out!
Pack 3017 Committee Chair
G ra n t s P a s s