Dusted Skipper (Atrytonopsis hianna [Scudder])
Wing span: 1 1/4 - 1 11/16 inches (3.2 - 4.3 cm).
Identification: Fringes are brown with a few white spots. Upperside is gray-black; male forewing has a tiny stigma. Underside of hindwing is gray with white dusting outwardly and usually at least one white dot at the wing base. Populations on the southern Great Plains (A. h. turneri) are paler gray; those in Florida and along the southern Atlantic coast (A. h. loammi) have white spots on the hindwing undersides.
Life history: To watch for receptive females, males perch on or near the ground during the daytime. Caterpillars eat leaves and live in tents of silked-together leaves. Fully-grown caterpillars hibernate and pupate in a sealed nest at the base of the host plant.
Flight: One brood from May-June in the north; two broods from March-October in Florida.
Caterpillar hosts: Little bluestem (Andropogon scoparius) and big bluestem (A. gerardi).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers including Japanese honeysuckle, wild strawberry, blackberry, wild hyacinth, phlox, vervain, and red clover.
Habitat: Grasslands, prairies, barrens, and old fields.
Range: Local. Eastern Wyoming, central Colorado, northern New Mexico, and central Texas east to New Hampshire and Massachusetts; south to peninsular Florida and the Gulf Coast.
Conservation: Not usually required.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: None reported.
Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates. Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates. Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Denver and Fort Collins, CO. Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.