|scientific name Polites mystic |
common name Long Dash Skipper
A species of mesic grasslands and meadows throughout the province.
Most commonly encountered between mid June and mid July.
Most similar to the Woodland Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanoides), from which it is distinguished by the dark marginal border of the forewing upperside: this is obscure and not sharply defined in P. mystic, while O. sylvanoides has sharp, zigzag border with the median orange area.
Eggs are greenish white (Bird et al. 1995). Larvae are dark brown with white mottling, short spines and a dark brown, hairy head (McCabe & Post 1977). Bird et al. (1995) report that half-grown larvae overwinter, but Saunders (1869) states that pupation occurs in August about a month after the eggs are laid. Adults often perch on vegetation and take nectar at legumes (Hooper 1973), including alfalfa. The Long Dash Skipper frequents moist grassy areas, often near water, particularly in the prairie grasslands.
Not of concern in Alberta.
Larvae feed on broad-leaved grasses including blue grass (Poa agassizensis, P. pratensis) quack grass (Agropyron repens), Timothy grass (Phleum pratense) and Agrostis gigantea (Bird et al. 1995, Layberry et al. 1998).
Eastern BC east to eastern Quebec, south to Arizona and Virginia (Opler 1999, Layberry et al. 1998).
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