|scientific name Hesperia uncas |
common name Uncas Skipper
Two flights annually, one peaking in June and the second in early August.
The white veins on the hindwing underside and slightly larger size separate the Uncas Skipper from all other Hesperia species; the wingspan is 25 to 31 mm (erroneously given as '25 - 41 mm' in Bird et al. 1995); It may also be confused with the Rhesus Skipper (Polites rhesus) because of the similar underside pattern, but rhesus lacks any trace of orange markings on the upperside.
The eggs are cream in colour; first instar larvae have a black head, and are also cream-coloured (Bird et al. 1995). Mature larvae are gray-brown (Bird et al. 1995) or light brown with a dark dorsal and pale subdorsal line (McCabe & Post 1977). Head dark brown marked with cream spots (Opler 1999). Adults land on exposed ground, rocks, and cattle dung, and are wary and difficult to approach. Sparsely vegetated ridge- and hilltops are good places to look for this species (Bird et al. 1995).
May be sensitive to loss of native grassland habitat.
Caterpillars feed on species of grama and needle grass (Bouteloua spp. and Stipa spp.) (Bird et al. 1995). Females lay eggs on blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) in North Dakota (McCabe & Post 1977).
Essentially a Great Plains species, ranging from southern Alberta east to Manitoba, south to northwestern Texas and west to Nevada (Opler 1999). This species appears to be declining as a result of habitat loss, and may be extirpated in Manitoba (Layberry et al. 1998).
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