Dakota Skipper (Hesperia dacotae)
The Dakota Skipper is a species of relatively rare butterflies marked as ‘VU’ (Vulnerable) by the IUCN 2.3. Found in hilly greens of North America, these small to medium size butterflies are active only for around three weeks between June and July.
Description and Identification
The larva is light brownish gray in color with a black head bordered in white, and a smooth body. They live close to the ground feeding on grass leaves at night and making shelters of silken tubes lined with grass.
Adult Dakota skippers emerge from the chrysalis state between mid-June and early July, depending on the weather conditions.
Sexual Dimorphism: Present
Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the upperside displays a golden-orange hue with hazy dark marks. In the male, the stigma in the forewing has a black felt inside it, whereas in the female, the forewing shows a transparent white mark under the cell. When the wings are closed, the underside of the secondary wings displays a yellowish orange hue in the male, and a brownish-gray hue in the female. Both the sexes may or may not have a faint band of spots.
Average wingspan: 1 – 1 3/8 inches (2.5 – 3.5 cm)
Flight pattern: Fast and erratic, close to the ground
Laid singly on the underside of leaves of host plants
|Distribution||From the southern parts of Manitoba and western North Dakota to the western regions of Minnesota, south to northwest Iowa|
|Habitat||Rolling hills of native tall-grass prairie regions|
|Lifespan of adults||Up to 3 weeks (average 3 to 10 days)|
|strong>Host plants||Little bluestem (Andropogon scoparius), bluegrass (Poa pratensis),and panic grass (Panicum)|
|Adult diet||Flower nectar|
Did You Know?
The antennae of this butterfly from a hook, which is rare in the butterfly kingdom.