North American Butterflies and Moths List

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U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Nevada

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:

Emmel, T.C. Editor. 1998. Systematics of western North American butterflies.
     Mariposa Press, Gainesville, Florida.

Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998.  The Butterflies of 
     Canada.  University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON.  280 pp. 

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.
Draco Skipper (Polites draco)
distribution map
map legend

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