Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius [Kirby])
Wing span: 1 - 1 1/4 inches (2.5 - 3.2 cm).
Identification: Upperside of male is brown with reddish-orange patches; forewing has a sinuous stigma. Female is darker with no stigma. Underside of the hindwing of both sexes has a patch of large yellow spots in the center surrounded by dark brown.
Life history: Males perch in sunny open areas to await receptive females, and courtship takes place throughout the day. Females lay eggs singly; caterpillars eat leaves and live in leaf shelters. Caterpillars and chrysalids hibernate.
Flight: Two to three broods from May-October.
Caterpillar hosts: Rice cutgrass (Leersia oryzoides); probably bluegrass (Poa pratensis) and others.
Adult food: Nectar from flowers including red clover, purple vetch, thistles, selfheal, New York ironweed, blue vervain, common milkweed, swamp milkweed, dogbane, and New Jersey tea.
Habitat: Many open grassy habitats including meadows, prairies, lawns, marshes, landfills, roadsides, vacant lots, and power line right-of-ways.
Range: British Columbia east across southern Canada to Nova Scotia; south to northeastern Oregon, southern Colorado, northwest Arkansas, and northern Georgia.
Conservation: Not usually required.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may 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