Peck’s Skipper

Polites peckius
Hesperiidae (skippers)

The lower (ventral) side of the hindwing is brown with a orange-yellow patch near the hindwing base and an orange-yellow band with one rectangle much wider than the rest of the band. The width of the central brown region varies.

Males and females are similar on the top (dorsal) side, but the female is darker. The dorsal hindwing is similar to the ventral hindwing pattern. The leading edge of the dorsal forewing is orange with the remainder of the wing dark brown with orange spots. On males, a black patch (stigma) containing scent cells separates the orange and brown scales.

As a grass skipper, this species commonly rests with the forewings held open in a V shape while the hindwings are held out horizontally to the side. They may also have all four folded together so that only the bottom surfaces are visible.

Larvae are deep maroon with a dark line down the top and brown mottling. The head is black with white markings.

Wingspan: 1–1¼ inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
Grassy fields, lawns and a wide variety of open habitats. The adults visit a variety of flowers, and males perch on shrubs and other objects waiting for females to fly near.
Larvae feed on a variety of grasses. The adults visit many kinds of flowers, including clovers, members of the sunflower family, milkweeds, and more. They are also attracted to butterfly bush (Buddleia).
Distribution in Missouri: 
Multibrooded resident species.
Life cycle: 
Adults fly from May through October. Like most skippers, males perch on plants and other objects to locate females, who, after mating, lay eggs singly on grasses. The caterpillars construct leaf shelters close to the ground where, as luck would have it, they are somewhat protected from lawnmowers. This species overwinters in both caterpillar and chrysalis stages.
Human connections: 
Taxonomists are biologists who study the relationships among species and determine precise names for them. Skippers are a family of insects in the same order as butterflies and moths, yet belonging in neither of those groups. Skippers have many unique characteristics.
Ecosystem connections: 
The caterpillars are herbivores that, like thousands of other animals, need grasses to survive. The adults serve a role in pollination. All stages provide food for predators.
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