Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Poweshiek Skipperling
Oarisma poweshiek (Parker, 1870)


Family: Hesperiidae
Subfamily: Hesperiinae
Identification: Upperside is black; forewing leading edge and veins are orange. Underside of hindwing is pale brown with white veins.
Wing Span: 1 - 1 1/4 inches (2.5 - 3.2 cm).
Life History: To seek females, males patrol close to the ground with a rapid flight. Females deposit eggs singly on leaves of the host plants, which the caterpillars eat. Fifth-stage caterpillars hibernate.
Flight: One brood from June-August.
Caterpillar Hosts: Spikerush (Eleocharis elliptica).
Adult Food: Nectar from flowers including black-eyed susans, purple coneflower, ox-eye daisy, stiff-leaved coreopsis, and white clover.
Habitat: Undisturbed remnants of native tall-grass prairie.
Range: The Dakotas, Minnesota, one site in Iowa, and one site in Michigan.
Conservation: Because little of its habitat remains, this butterfly is in need of protection wherever it is found.
NCGR: G2 - Imperiled globally because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences), or because of other factors demonstrably making it very vulnerable to extinction throughout its range. (Endangered throughout its range).
Management Needs: Remaining habitats should be carefully managed. Use of fire as a management tool is discouraged.
Comments: Named for Poweshiek County. See Pelham 2008.
Alternate Scientific Names:
Oarisma powesheik