A checkered history: distribution of Pyrgus Hübner species in The Bahamas, including the first Caribbean records of Pyrgus albescens Plötz (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae)


  • Jacqueline Y. Miller
  • Deborah L. Matthews
  • Andrew D. Warren


Abaco, Grand Bahama, biogeography, butterfly, dispersal, skipper.


Despite being generally distributed and common on Cuba, Hispaniola, and in south Florida, species of Pyrgus Hübner (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae), commonly known as checkered skippers, are very poorly known from The Bahamas. Previous records indicated the presence only of Pyrgus oileus (Linnaeus, 1767), just from Great Inagua Island, although its status on that island remains unclear. Herein we document P. oileus for the first time from Grand Bahama Island, suggesting an independent dispersal of this species to the northern Bahamas from south Florida. Furthermore, we document Pyrgus albescens Plötz, 1884 from Grand Bahama and Abaco islands, representing the first Caribbean records for this rapidly dispersing species. We suggest that both P. oileus and P. albescens arrived on Grand Bahama sometime between 2010 and 2014, most likely from south Florida, and that P. albescens has subsequently dispersed to Abaco. Careful study of Pyrgus species in The Bahamas is needed to document future colonization events.