North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of North Carolina

Meske's Skipper (Hesperia meskei)
JPG -- species photo

Meske's Skipper (Hesperia meskei [W. H. Edwards])

Wing span: 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 inches (3.2 - 3.9 cm).

Identification: Upperside is dark brown with bright orange areas. Underside of hindwing is bright yellow-orange with a faint band of paler spots.

Life history: Males perch to wait for receptive females, who lay their eggs singly on the host plant. Caterpillars live in silken tubes at the base of grass clumps and feed on grass nearby. They overwinter in shelters that are partially underground.

Flight: Two broods from April-October; several broods from May-December in southern Florida.

Caterpillar hosts: Little bluestem (Andropogon scoparius) and arrowfeather threeawn (Aristida purpurascens).

Adult food: Nectar from flowers of blazing star, pickerelweed, and others.

Habitat: Sparse, open woods and grassy places.

Range: Southern North Carolina south to the Florida Keys. Isolated populations in central Arkansas and east Texas. Strays to South Texas.

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. 

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

State and Regional References:

Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998.  The Butterflies of 
     Canada.  University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON.  280 pp. 
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format.
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.     
Meske's Skipper (Hesperia meskei)
distribution map
map legend

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