Polites peckius
Peck’s Skipper

Family:Hesperiidae
Family Description:
Alternate Common Name: Yellowpatch Skipper.
Note: Some authors refer to this species as Polites coras.


Description:
Caterpillar:
The caterpillar is dark reddish brown, mottled with light brown and striped lengthwise along the back with black.
Adult: This is a fairly small skipper, with a wingspan of to 1 inches. The male is brownish on the upperside, marked with patches and bars of orange and golden yellow. The forewing has a black stigma (patch of scent scales used in attracting females). The female is dark brown on the upperside, with smaller patches and bars of orange and golden yellow, and has no stigma. Underneath, both sexes are brown. The underside of the forewing has several patches of yellow. The underside of the hindwing has a curved, thick band of yellow, rectangular-shaped spots towards the outer edge, the center spot extending the farthest; additionally, there is a patch of yellow where the wing attaches to the body.

Range:
This species ranges across Canada from eastern British Columbia to Nova Scotia, and across the U.S. from eastern Washington and Oregon to the east coast, extending south as far as central Colorado, northern Arkansas, and northern Georgia. It occurs in Idaho in both the panhandle and central regions of the state.

Habitat:
It can be found in open, grassy places such as meadows, fields, prairies, and pastures.

Diet:
Caterpillar:
Caterpillars feed on the leaves of a variety of grasses (Family Poaceae).

Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar.

Ecology:
There are generally two generations of caterpillars each summer in most of its range, but there may be only one in the north or at high elevations. Caterpillars construct nests from leaves and silk. Caterpillars and pupae may overwinter in a physiological state called diapause. Adults generally fly either from July to August (one generation) or from May to June and from August to September (two generations). The butterflies when at rest are found with their forewings partially open and their hindwings fully open.

Reproduction:
Males perch to wait for receptive females. Females lay green eggs singly on grasses, and occasionally on other plants.

Conservation:
Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.
Global Rank: G5
populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.


References:
Ferris, C. D. and F. M. Brown. (eds.) 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, USA, 442 pp.

Opler, P. A., H. Pavulaan, and R. E. Stanford. 1995. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, North Dakota, USA: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/bflyusa/bflyusa.htm (Version 05Nov98).

Opler, P. A. and A. B.Wright. 1999. A Field Guide to the Western Butterflies.   Second Edition.  Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York, USA, 540 pp.

Pyle, R. M. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, New York, USA, 924 pp.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA, 583 pp.

Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western U.S.A. Butterflies (Including Adjacent Parts of Canada and Mexico). Published by authors, Denver, Colorado, USA, 275 pp.