Tropical Least Skipper (Ancyloxypha arene [W. H. Edwards])
Wing span: 3/4 - 1 1/16 inches (1.9 - 2.7 cm).
Identification: Wings are orange. Upperside has a narrow black border on both wings. Underside of hindwing is golden orange with a pale ray running from the base through the cell to the outer margin.
Life history: To find receptive females, males patrol with a weak flight over grasses in valley bottoms.
Flight: April-October in South Texas, March-December in Mexico and Central America.
Caterpillar hosts: Water bentgrass (Polypogon simiverticillata).
Adult food: Flower nectar from low growing plants.
Habitat: Damp grassy areas near streams, ponds, marshes, and ditches.
Range: Southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, and west-central Texas south through tropical America to Costa Rica.
Strays to northeastern New Mexico and 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 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