North American Butterflies and Moths List

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

The Registry of Nature Habitats

U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of New Mexico

Draco Skipper (Polites draco)
JPG -- species photo

Draco Skipper (Polites draco [W. H. Edwards])

Wing span: 1 - 1 1/4 inches (2.5 - 3.2 cm).

Identification: Upperside of male is dark brown with reddish-orange markings; forewing with a short black stigma. Reddish-orange bar opposite the hindwing cell is longer than the other bars. Female is similar but lacks a stigma and has lighter colored markings. Underside of both sexes is brown with a greenish tint and cream spots, and has the upperside markings repeated. Veins are the same color as the wing and there are dark dots at the vein ends.

Life history: To await receptive females, males perch in low grassy spots all day.

Flight: One brood from June-August.

Caterpillar hosts: Grasses.

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Grassy, high elevation meadows.

Range: Yukon Territory, British Columbia, and Alberta south through the Rocky Mountains of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona. There is one record for Nevada.

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.


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:

Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown. 1980. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. 
     University of Oklahoma Press. Norman.

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.

Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. 
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.

Add Toliver, M., Holland, R., and S.J. Cary. 1996. Distributional data
     for New Mexico Butterflies. Privately published. Albuquerque, N.M.
Draco Skipper (Polites draco)
distribution map
map legend

Return to species list
Return to Butterflies of North America main page