North American Butterflies and Moths List

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U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Uncas Skipper (Hesperia uncas)
JPG -- species photo

Uncas Skipper (Hesperia uncas W. H. Edwards)

Wing span: 1 1/8 - 1 5/8 inches (2.9 - 4.2 cm).

Identification: Wings are brownish orange. Underside of hindwing has white veins, white spots extended along the veins, and black submarginal patches.

Life history: Males perch on tops of small hills or mesas to await females. Females lay eggs singly on or near the host plants. Caterpillars eat leaves and take shelter in tied-up leaves.

Flight: One brood from June-July in high elevations; two broods from May-September in the remainder of the range.

Caterpillar hosts: Blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis) and needlegrass (Stipa).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Short-grass prairie, sagebrush, open woodland.

Range: High plains from central Alberta east to southern Manitoba; south to east-central California, southeast Arizona, west and north Texas; south to southern Mexico. A stray to southwest Iowa and eastern 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

Uncas Skipper (Hesperia uncas)
distribution map
map legend

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