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

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.