Pahaska Skipper (Hesperia pahaska Luessler)
Wing span: 1 1/4 - 1 5/8 inches (3.2 - 4.2 cm).
Identification: Upperside is yellow-orange with wide black borders. Male has yellow felt in the forewing stigma. Underside of hindwing is orange-brown with a short band of white spots.
Life history: To wait for receptive females, males perch on hilltops all day. Females deposit eggs singly on or near the host plants; caterpillars feed on leaves and take shelter in tied-together leaves. Caterpillars hibernate.
Flight: One brood from May-July in the north; two broods from April-October in the south.
Caterpillar hosts: Various grasses including blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) and fluff grass (Erioneuron pulchellum).
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Short-grass prairie foothills, open pine forest, chaparral, desert grassland.
Range: Through the Rocky Mountain range from central Montana and northwest North Dakota south to central Mexico; west to southeast California. A stray to northwest Minnesota.
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, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo.