Poanes taxiles
Taxiles Skipper

Family Description:
Alternate Common Name: Golden Skipper.
Note: This species is listed as a subspecies of Poanes zabulon by some authors.
Caterpillar: The caterpillar is orangish to light brown, striped lengthwise along the back and sides thinly with brown, and dotted with brown.
Adult: These skippers are sexually dimorphic, which means males and females differ in their appearance. The wingspan ranges from 1 to 1 inches. Males: The male is bright yellowish orange on the upperside, with the wings edged in black, appearing scalloped. Underneath is brownish orange. The underside of the forewing may be slightly darker at the tip and edges; the underside of the hindwing is brown with patches of yellow, or yellow with patches of brown. Females: The female is orangish brown on the upperside, with patches of orange or yellow. Underneath is brownish. The underside of the forewing may have patches of golden orange; the underside of the hindwing may have a faint band of orange to yellow across the center, and bluish to purplish shading near the body and/or at the edge.

This species ranges from eastern Wyoming and western South Dakota and Nebraska south through Colorado and New Mexico across the border to northern Mexico; it also occurs from extreme southeastern Idaho south in a narrow strip to southern Utah and northern Arizona.

It can be found in valleys and gulches, grassy fields, and in forest openings.

Caterpillars feed on the leaves of a variety of grasses, including bluegrass (Poa spp.), wheatgrass (Agropyron spp.), and orchard grass (Dactylis spp.).

Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar.

There is one generation of caterpillars each summer. Caterpillars construct nests of leaves tied with silk. The overwintering stage is unreported. Adults generally fly from mid-June through august. At rest, these butterflies are found with their forewings partially open and their hindwings fully open. Adult males may be territorial. Additionally, they are often active during cloudy weather, an uncommon behavior for butterflies.

Males perch to wait for receptive females. Females lay eggs singly on the leaves of host plants.

Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.
Global Rank: G5
populations levels are secure, but may be of concern in the future.

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.