Indian Skipper (Hesperia sassacus Harris)
Wing span: 1 1/4 - 1 3/8 inches (3.2 - 3.5 cm).
Identification: Upperside is yellow-orange with well-defined black markings. Black border of the hindwing is often toothed. Underside of hindwing is yellow-orange with a band of yellow spots that barely contrasts with the background.
Life history: Males perch all day to await receptive females. Caterpillars live in silken tubes at the base of grass clumps and leave them to feed. Older caterpillars overwinter and in the spring pupate in a loose cocoon.
Flight: One brood from May-July.
Caterpillar hosts: Various grasses including little bluestem (Andropogon scoparius), panic grass (Panicum), and red fescue (Festuca rubra).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers including blackberry, henbit, lithospermum, phlox, and viper's bugloss.
Habitat: Old brushy fields, pastures, clearings, headlands.
Range: Maine west across southern Ontario to southeast Manitoba and Minnesota; south to western North Carolina, southern Ohio, and northern Indiana.
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.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON. 280 pp. Nielsen, Mogens C., 1999. Michigan Butterflies and Skippers: A Field Guide and Reference. Michigan State University Extension, East Lansing, MI. 248 pp. Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.