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

Pollinator Week was June 20-26, 2022!

Butterflies and moths are accidental pollinators of many flowering plants. While most species do not have special structures to carry pollen, they do brush against pollen and transfer it to other flowers.

Did you know? The Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) flies close to the ground and uses its short proboscis to probe flowers of wild strawberry, white sweet clover, and other low-lying plants.