Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Rhesus Skipper
Polites rhesus (W.H. Edwards, 1878)


Family: Hesperiidae
Subfamily: Hesperiinae
Identification: Fringes are white. Upperside is dark brown; male stigma is not apparent. Forewing spots are white; larger in the female. Underside of hindwing is greenish brown with white veins, a white band, and irregular dark spots.
Wing Span: 1 - 1 1/4 inches (2.5 - 3.2 cm).
Life History: To await receptive females, males perch on small mesas up to 6 feet high or on flats where there are no mesas. Females lay eggs singly on the host plants.
Flight: One brood from May-June.
Caterpillar Hosts: Blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis).
Adult Food: Nectar from flowers including Drummond\'s milkvetch (Astragalus drummondii).
Habitat: Native short-grass and mixed-grass prairie.
Range: Southern Manitoba south through the grasslands of Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Arizona, and New Mexico into northern Mexico.
Conservation: Species should be monitored as native short-grass habitats are gradually being replaced by agriculture. Suitable habitats may require moderate grazing.
NCGR: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
Comments: NULL