Iowa skipper

(Atrytone arogos iowa)

Conservation Status
Iowa skipper
Photo by Scott Leddy
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N3 - Vulnerable

S3 - Vulnerable

     
  Minnesota

Special Concern

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Iowa skipper 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.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Wingspan: 1 to 17 16

 
     
 

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.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

In Minnesota, moderately dry to moderately moist native tallgrass prairie

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

One generation per year: Late June through July

 
     
 

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.

 
     
 

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.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
  Leaves of big bluestem and probably little bluestem  
     
 

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.

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Nectar from flowers, especially narrow-leaved purple coneflower

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

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

 
  7/26/2018      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Rare; small, widely scattered populations

 
         
 
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  
 

Genus

Atrytone  
       
 

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 other insects, a thickened, dark, or opaque cell on the leading edge of the wing.

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Scott Leddy
       

Arogos Iowa skipper butterfly

  Iowa skipper    
       
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Other Videos
 
  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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