Iowa skipper

(Atrytone arogos iowa)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

Iowa skipper

NatureServe

N3 - Vulnerable

S3 - Vulnerable

Minnesota

Special Concern

Occurrence

Rare; small, widely scattered populations

Flight/Season

One generation per year: Late June through July

Habitat

In Minnesota, moderately dry to moderately moist native tallgrass prairie

Size

Wingspan: 1 to 17 16

Photo by Scott Leddy

Identification

This is a rare, small to medium-sized, grass skipper. It has a wingspan of 1 to 17 16. The female is larger than the male.

The wings are proportionately short and broadly triangular. The hindwing is distinctly rounded. The upperside of both wings is yellowish-orange with a broad, dark, grayish-brown border. On the male, the the border is dark and sharply differentiated. On the female, the border is more extensive, is not as dark, and is not sharply defined. It diffuses into the yellowish-orange area, and on the hindwing it sometimes completely obscures lighter color. The veins are unmarked, not darkened. There are no pale or translucent spots. The female has a prominent, black, thin, longitudinal streak in the center of the yellowish-orange area of the forewing where the stigma would be on most male grass skippers. Males of this genus do not have a stigma. Males of this species do not have this black mark.

The underside of both wings is yellowish-orange. The veins on the hindwing are whitish. The fringe on the hindwing is usually white.

The antennae are short and faintly striped. Each antenna has a long black swelling (club) at the tip, and a pale, thin, hooked extension (apiculus) at the end of the club.

The caterpillar is pale yellowish-green with orange markings.

 
Similar
Species

Delaware skipper (Anatrytone logan) is much more common. There is at least some black veining on the upperside of the wings. The forewing has a black cell-end bar. The wing undersides are brighter orange. The hindwing fringe is orange or tan, not white.


Larval Food

Leaves of big bluestem and probably little bluestem

 
Adult Food

Nectar from flowers, especially narrow-leaved purple coneflower

 
Life Cycle

Males perch on low vegetation near host plants in the afternoon waiting for passing females. The female lays pale yellow eggs singly on the underside of leaves of host plants. Larvae make shelters near the tips of leaves by tying two adjacent leaves together with silk. These shelters can be up to 11¾ off the ground. They live in their shelters, exiting only at night to feed. They overwinter in their shelters as fourth stage (instar) caterpillars. They pupate in shelters about 3 feet above the ground in the spring.

 
Behavior

Adults are active during the day. When at rest, the forewings are held at a 45° angle and the hindwiings are held horizontal, a configuration that resembles an F-15 Eagle fighter jet.


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 6, 21, 24, 29, 30, 72, 75.


Comments

Prescribed Burns
Larvae feed near the leaf tips of tall grasses, near shelters up to 11¾ off the ground. They pupate about 3 feet above the ground. This makes them particularly vulnerable to prescribed burns on managed prairies any time of year.


Taxonomy

Order:

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)

 

Suborder:

Glossata

 

Infraorder:

Neolepidoptera

 

Parvorder:

Heteroneura

 

No Rank:

Ditrysia

 

No Rank:

Obtectomera

 

Superfamily:

Hesperioidea (skippers)

 

Family:

Hesperiidae (skippers)

 

Subfamily:

Hesperiinae (grass skippers)

 

Tribe:

Hesperiini

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

Iowa skipper


 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Apiculus

A thin hooked or pointed extension at the ends of each antennae just beyond the club of all skippers except skipperlings (subfamily Heteropterinae).

 

Instar

The developmental stage of arthropods between each molt; in insects, the developmental stage of the larvae or nymph.

 

Stigma

In plants, the portion of the female part of the flower that is receptive to pollen. In Lepidoptera, an area of specialized scent scales on the forewing of some skippers, hairstreaks, and moths. In Odonata, a thickened, dark or opaque cell near the tip of the wing on the leading edge.

 

 

 

 

 

       

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Scott Leddy


Arogos Iowa skipper butterfly

  Iowa skipper    

       
       
       

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  Arogos Skipper
Tony Rossi
 
   
 
About

Published on Oct 18, 2014

The interactions that are being observed in the video posted are mutualism and commensalism interactions between the western honey bee, the Arogos skipper and the Jerusalem Artichoke. The western honey bee benefits from this interaction because it receive nutrients from the flower’s nectar, and the flower benefits from the insect because the flower’s pollen is able to cling to the bee and be transported to another flower where the pollen will then fall off the bee and into the stamen of the other flower. This depositing of the pollen allows the eggs of the other flower to be fertilized, ultimately resulting in the production of the seeds. The arogos skipper does not benefit from the interaction with the flower because the arogos skipper does not consume nectar from giant sunflowers, but the Jerusalem Artichoke still benefits because the pollen from the flower is transported by the skipper to other flowers, as it was with the bee.

An interesting point to note is that the western honey bee is a pollinator for many different species of plants. The western honey bees are active during all four seasons and because of this do not strictly pollinate just one particular species of flowers.2 When the western honey bee pollinates the Jerusalem Artichoke it also consumes the nectar of the flower. In this case both are benefitting, the bee with a meal, and the flower with reproduction aid, so this interaction is mutualism. However, the arogos skipper is very selective with the source of its nectar and only consumes nectar from purple vetch, Canada thistle, dogbane, stiff coreopsis, purple coneflower, green milkweed, and ox-eye daisy.1 Due to this we can determine the arogos skipper was not benefiting from this interaction, but was not being harmed meaning the interaction had to be commensalism.

1"Butterflies and Moths of North America." Butterflies and Moths of North America | Collecting and Sharing Data about Lepidoptera. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2014.

2Westerkamp, Christian. "Honeybees Are Poor Pollinators ? Why?" Plant Systematics and Evolution 177.1-2 (1991): 71-75. Print.

 
     

 

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Scott Leddy
7/24/2018

Fillmore County

Iowa skipper


     
     
 

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