|scientific name Carterocephalus palaemon |
common name Arctic Skipper
Inhabits clearings, meadows and open woods in the boreal, parkland and mountain regions.
One brood per year, with peak flight activity from early June to early July depending on habitat.
This mid-sized skipper (wingspan 20 - 30 mm) is unmistakable with its brown and orange checkered pattern. Although Layberry et al. (1998) assign all Canadian populations to subspecies mandan, mountain populations are larger and darker, and the name magnus has recently been applied to these populations (Guppy & Shepard 2001).
Eggs are greenish-white, and mature larvae are creamy white with a dark dorsal and lateral stripe (Bird et al. 1995). The mature larva overwinters, and the pupa resembles a piece of dead grass (Bird et al. 1995). Males of the Arctic Skipper perch on grass stalks.
Not of concern.
Although a large number of broad-leafed grasses have been reported as larval hosts, many of these likely refer to larvae fed in captivity, and the number of hosts used in nature are likely few (Layberry et al. 1998). Eggs are laid on brome grass (Bromus spp.) and reed grass (Calamagrostis spp.) in Michigan (Nielsen 1999).
The Arctic Skipper occurs throughout most of Canada except the high Arctic, from Alaska to Newfoundland, south along the mountains to California and Wyoming. In the east, it ranges south to the Great Lakes states and New England (Opler 1999). It also occurs in Eurasia.
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