Tawny-edged Skipper

Polites themistocles

Summary 5

The Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistocles) is a North American butterfly in the family Hesperiidae, subfamily Hesperiinae (Grass Skippers). Similar to Little Tawny Edge Skipper but larger and the stigma on the male forewing is in three parts like a tilted J. It has a much broader distribution than the Little Tawny Edge Skipper and does not range to southern Florida.

General description 6

The combination of the sex patch on the male forewing and brown, unmarked hind wing serve to distinguish the tawny-edged Skipper from other branded skippers (those species with a prominent, black dash in the middle of the forewing). The only species with a similar underside is the Dun Skipper, which lacks the contrasting orange forewing markings. Subspecies turneri, found in the southwestern foothills, has darker brown hind wings (ventrally and dorsally) than subspecies themistocles of the parkland region (Kondla 2001).

Larva Description 7

Head black (white near eyes), with two white vertical stripes above a white inverted V on the face. Prothorax black; body yellowish-green or purplish-brown with tiny brown dots, a dark sublateral line and a faint lateral line.

Larval Host Plants 7

Grasses including Panic grasses (Panicum), slender crabgrass (Digitaria filiformis), and bluegrass (Poa pratensis).

GTM Occurrence 7

The Tawny-edged Skipper is considered a rare species at the GTM. This species has been observed twice at GTM, the first record was along the open habitat of Transect A in September, 2008 and the second record was from the Glasswort Loop (Transect C) in August, 2010. There have been 2 specimens observed as of December 28, 2015.

Distribution 8

This species is widely distributed throughout eastern North America, occurring west to central BC and northern Washington, and south along the Rocky Mountain front ranges to Arizona and New Mexico (Opler 1999). Primarily a species of the aspen parkland and fescue grassland in Alberta, ranging north to the Edmonton area.

Habitat 9

A great variety of grassy habitats from prairie swales and mountain meadows to old fields, right of ways, pastures, in some regions even lawns; probably most often mesic.

Nature serve conservation status 10

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Bill Bouton, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://www.flickr.com/photos/billbouton/2231516155/
  2. (c) summerazure, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA), https://www.flickr.com/photos/45351814@N07/7031023649/
  3. (c) pondhawk, some rights reserved (CC BY), https://www.flickr.com/photos/38686613@N08/4747765528/
  4. (c) Mary Keim, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA), https://www.flickr.com/photos/38514062@N03/21200958694/
  5. Adapted by GTMResearchReserve from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polites_themistocles
  6. (c) University of Alberta Museums, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://eol.org/data_objects/31887524
  7. (c) GTMResearchReserve, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
  8. (c) University of Alberta Museums, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://eol.org/data_objects/31887523
  9. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://eol.org/data_objects/28820676
  10. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://eol.org/data_objects/28820670

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