Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Zabulon Skipper
Poanes zabulon (Boisduval & Leconte, [1837])


Family: Hesperiidae
Subfamily: Hesperiinae
Identification: Male black borders and no stigma. Underside of hindwing is mostly yellow with a dark brown wingbase and outer margin. Female: Upperside is purple-brown with pale yellow spots; underside of hindwing is brown and purple-gray with a white-edged costal margin.
Wing Span: 1 3/8 - 1 5/8 inches (3.5 - 4.2 cm).
Life History: Males perch in sunlit openings or edges on leaves about 3-5 feet above the ground. They appear to defend their territory and may keep a perch for up to a week. Courtship usually occurs in the afternoon. Females lay eggs singly under the host leaves. Caterpillars feed on leaves and make shelters of silk-tied leaves.
Flight: Two broods from May-September in the north; several broods all year in the tropical highlands.
Caterpillar Hosts: Grasses including lovegrass (Eragrostis), purpletop (Tridens), bluegrass (Poa), wheatgrass (Agropyron), orchardgrass (Dactylis), wildrye (Elymus), and bentgrass (Agrostis).
Adult Food: Nectar from a variety of flowers including the exotics Japanese honeysuckle, red clover, everlasting pea, and selfheal; and the natives blackberry, purple vetch, common milkweed, buttonbush, joe-pye weed, and thistles.
Habitat: Brushy openings near moist forests and streams.
Range: Massachusetts west through southern Michigan to central Kansas; south to central Florida, southern Louisiana, and northeast Texas. Strays to New Mexico, South Dakota, and southern Quebec. A separate population ranges from central Mexico south to Panama.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
Comments: NULL