Taxiles Skipper (Poanes taxiles [W. H. Edwards])
Wing span: 1 1/4 - 1 11/16 inches (3.2 - 4.3 cm).
Identification: Male: Wings are yellow-orange; upperside with narrow black borders; underside of forewing with slightly darkened tip and outer margin; underside of hindwing with darkened base and outer margin. Female: Upperside is dark orange-brown with pale orange patches on the forewing and central hindwing. Underside of hindwing is violet-brown with a pale band of spots and a patch of gray scales near the outer margin.
Life history: Males perch in sunlit openings on leaves about 3-5 feet above the ground. They appear to defend their territory and may keep a perch for as long as a week. Courtship usually occurs in the afternoon. Females lay eggs singly under the host leaves. Caterpillars feed on leaves and make shelters of silk-tied leaves.
Flight: One brood from mid-June to August.
Caterpillar hosts: Grasses including bluegrass (Poa), wheatgrass (Agropyron), orchardgrass (Dactylis), wildrye (Elymus), and bentgrass (Agrostis).
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Woodland openings, stream valleys, forest meadows.
Range: Western South Dakota and north-central Nebraska south through the southern Rocky Mountains and foothills to central Mexico.
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