Peck’s skipper

(Polites peckius)

               
Hodges #

4036

Peck’s skipper
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Very common

Flight/Season

Probably two broods in Minnesota: Late May through June and mid-August to late September

Habitat

Meadows, forest clearings, marshes, pastures, old fields, powerline right-of-ways, suburbs, and other open grassy areas near wetland edges.

Size

Total Length: 1 to 1¼

Wingspan: ¾ to 1¼

Photo by John Shier

Identification

This is a small, very common, grass skipper. It is 1 to 1¼ in length and has a wingspan of ¾ to 1¼. Females are slightly larger than males.

The wings are proportionately short and broadly triangular. The hindwing is distinctly rounded. The upperside of the hindwing is brown with a large, central, orange patch. The patch is broken by dark veins and appears as four or five postmedian spots. The underside is brown with a band of large orange spots at the base and a band of six large orange spots near the middle of the wing. The third spot from the outer margin is distinctly longer than the rest. This character is sometimes referred to with the mnemonic “Peck’s is a Pointer”, and can also be seen on the upperside. The basal and median spots are usually separated by dark veins. Occasionally, the bands run together and the veins between the spots are the same color as the spots. On these individuals, the wing underside appears mostly orange.

The upperside of the forewing is brown with an irregular row of orange rectangular spots: three small spots near the margin in the in the postmedial area, then two smaller spots in the subapical area, then three larger spots extending to the inner margin in the medial area. On the male, there is also a prominent, black, sinuous stigma, and an orange area between the stigma and the leading edge of the wing (costal margin). The underside is similarly colored. The female is darker and lack the stigma.

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

The caterpillar is about ¾ long and dirty brown with tiny pale spots. The thorax and abdomen are densely covered with moderately short hairs and have a dark stripe running down the middle. The breathing pore (spiracle) on the eighth abdominal segment is conspicuously enlarged. The head is very dark with a pair of indistinct white lines down the middle, and a short white bar between the eyes and between the mandibles. Behind the head there is a distinct black collar with a white front (anterior) margin. The preceding description could easily be made for all other Polites caterpillars. Long dash (P. mystic) has somewhat shorter hairs, crossline skipper (P. origenes) has very short hairs, and tawny-edged skipper (P. themistocles) has hairs so short that the caterpillar may appear glossy. Identification is best made by rearing them into adults.

Mature caterpillars are seen from early spring to late fall.

 
Similar
Species

Long dash (Polites mystic) wing undersides are orangish-brown and less contrasting. The hindwing underside lacks the conspicuously long median spot. The orange spots on the upperside appear as more of a band than a “patch”.

Tawny-edged skipper (Polites themistocles) wings are darker. The hindwing lacks the orange patch.


Larval Food

Rice cutgrass, and probably bluegrass, brome, and other grasses.

 
Adult Food

Flower nectar from a wide variety of species

 
Life Cycle

Males perch on low vegetation throughout the day waiting for passing females. The female lays pale green eggs singly on the foliage of host species. Larvae make a shelter by rolling one leaf or tying adjacent leaves together with silk. They live in their shelters, exiting only at night to feed. Second brood larvae overwinter in their shelters as third, fourth, or fifth instar caterpillars and pupate in their shelters in the spring.

 
Behavior

Like all skippers, they have a rapid, darting flight. They tend to stay close to the ground.


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 21, 24, 27, 29, 30, 75.


Comments

 


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

 
Subordinate Taxa

Peck’s skipper (Polites peckius peckius)

Peck’s skipper (Polites peckius surllano)

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

Peck’s skipper

yellow patch skipper

yellowpatch 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).

 

costal margin

The leading edge of the forewing of insects.

 

instar

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

 

spiracle

A small opening on the surface of an insect through which the insect breathes.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

       

Visitor Photos

   
Share your photo of this insect.

Margot Avey


Took it in my back yard St Louis Park, MN today. Looks like it has double wings!

  Peck’s skipper    

John Shier


This pic was taken yesterday at the top of Barn Bluff (Red Wing). It illustrates some of the problems of identification for skippers.

The season of the year is about right for Pecks.

  Peck’s skipper    

       
       
       

MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   
       
       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
  Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius)
Bill Keim
 
   
     
  Peck's Skipper
Cory Gregory
 
   
     
  Peck's Skipper
Henryr10
 
   

 

slideshow

     

Visitor Videos

   
Share your video of this insect.

     
     

Other Videos

 
  Peck's Skipper Butterfly
The Bird Feeder
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 13, 2016

This Peck’s Skipper hangs out at our Hendricks County, Indiana, home.

Please check out my other channel, kmarkdaniel, at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCenz4XGBX4UJWOBcsBa5iOA. It has videos of trains and interesting things.

 
     
  Peck's Skipper on Strawbery Leaf - May 29, 2015
Don Gagnon
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 1, 2015

Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius), Perched on Strawberry Leaf, Gagnon Wildlife Habitat, Somerset, Friday afternoon, Massachusetts, May 29, 2015, 1:46 PM - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 P1540748; 7.5 x 10 in. (180 dpi); 46 sec.

 
     
  Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius) Top View Working
Nature's Wild Things
 
   
 
About

Published on Mar 9, 2017

Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius)

Top View Working

Video 30 sec long 34% Speed - Audio

Cabarrus County, North Carolina

Photo Walk - 09-28-2016

 
     
  Peck's Skipper in Strawberry Patch - July 30, 2015
Don Gagnon
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 30, 2015

Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius), Strawberry Patch, Gagnon Wildlife Habitat, Somerset, Massachusetts, Thursday afternoon, July 30, 2015, 3:12 PM / 3:13 PM / 3:16 PM / 3:20 PM / 3:21 PM - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 02732 / 02733 / 02734 / 02735 / 02736; 1:44 min.

 
     
  Peck's Skipper nectaring Verbena - August 9, 2014
Don Gagnon
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 9, 2014

Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius), Nectaring Purpletop Vervain (Verbena bonariensis), near Water Garden, Gagnon Wildlife Habitat, Somerset, Massachusetts, Saturday midday, August 9, 2014, 12:10 PM - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 00418; 39 sec.

 
     

 

Camcorder

         

Visitor Sightings

   
Share your sighting of this insect.

Margot Avey
9/29/2017

Location: St. Louis Park, MN

Took it in my back yard St Louis Park, MN today. Looks like it has double wings!

Peck’s skipper


John Shier
8/4/2017

Location: at the top of Barn Bluff (Red Wing)

It illustrates some of the problems of identification for skippers. The season of the year is about right for Pecks.

Peck’s skipper


     
     
 

MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings

   

 


 

 

Binoculars

Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2017 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.