|scientific name Polites themistocles |
common name Tawny-edged Skipper
Lush, moist habitats with native grasses.
Adults are most common from late June to mid July, with one annual generation.
The combination of the sex patch on the male forewing and brown, unmarked hindwing serve to distinguish the tawny-edged Skipper from other branded skippers (those species with a prominent, black dash in the middle of the forewing). The only species with a similar underside is the Dun Skipper, which lacks the contrasting orange forewing markings.
Subspecies turneri, found in the southwestern foothills, has darker brown hindwings (ventrally and dorsally) than subspecies themistocles of the parkland region (Kondla 2001).
The eggs are cream-coloured with red spots. First instar larvae are tan, and have a black head. Mature larvae are greenish to purplish brown in colour, with a mid-dorsal and lateral line (Bird et al. 1995, McCabe & Post 1977).
No conservation concerns.
Reported larval host plants include the following grasses: Panicum spp., Digitaria spp., Poa spp. (Layberry et al. 1998), Poa pratensis, Koeleria macrantha (Bird et al. 1995). It appears that this species prefers broad-leaved grasses to short-grass prairie species. Adults take nectar at legumes, including alfalfa.
This species is widely distributed throughout eastern North America, occurring west to central BC and northern Washington, and south along the Rocky Mountain front ranges to Arizona and New Mexico (Opler 1999). Primarily a species of the aspen parkland and fescue grassland in Alberta, ranging north to the Edmonton area.
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