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Common Least Skipper - Ancyloxypha numitor


Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Layberry et al. 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001] Forewing 1.1-1.2 cm. Small, antennae short, wings rounded. Uppersurface of forewing primarly dark brown with coppery-orange apex and costa; hindwing yellow-orange with wide dark brown margin. Undersurface of forewing dark brown except pale orange apex and costa, hindwing unmarked pale orange.

Phenology
Several flights northward, mid-June to early September; many flights in the south (Scott 1986). June to Septeber in the northern half of range, April to October in the southern half (Glassberg 2001). Mid-June to early September in Canada (Layberry et al. 1998), late June to September in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981), mid-June to early October in North Dakota (McCabe and Post 1976).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by a combination of small size, rounded wings, uppersurface of forewing primarly dark brown with coppery-orange apex and costa; hindwing yellow-orange with wide dark brown margin; undersurface of hindwing unmarked pale orange.

Range Comments
Southeastern Saskatchewan across southern Canada to Nova Scotia, south throughout the eastern US, in the west to southern Texas and eastern Mexico; scattered reports farther west (southern Alberta, southeastern Arizona) (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Layberry et al. 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); 1067 m to 1676 m elevation in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981). In Montana, not reported through 1993 (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993), but documented since 2003 in at least 16 eastern counties (FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database), north to Roosevelt County and as far west as Sweet Grass County in the south; to 1220 m elevation. Locally rare to locally uncommon in the northern Great Plains (Glassberg 2001).

Migration
Non-migratory.

Habitat
Wet grassy areas, ditches, marshes, slow-moving streams, open riparian areas (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001), favoring less-disturbed grassland sites (Hogsden and Hutchinson 2004; Nelson 2007). Habitat in Montana not described but probably similar.

Food Habits
Larval food plants are typically tall wide-leaf grasses, including Agropyron, Bromus, Echinochloa, Leersia, Oryza, Panicum, Phalaris, Poa(?), Setaria, Spartina, Zea, and Zizaniopsis (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; Layberry et al. 1998). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Alisma, Anemone, Asclepias, Boltonia, Cirsium, Erigeron, Eupatorium, Helianthus, Heliopsis, Houstonia, Lantana, Lindernia, Lobelia, Lotus, Lycopus, Lythrum, Medicago, Mentha, Oxalis, Phlox, Phyla, Potentilla, Prunella, Scutellaria, Stachys, Taraxacum, Trifolium, Verbena, Vicea, Viola) and mud (Tooker et al. 2002; Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Limited information. Females lay eggs singly on host plant leaves (both surfaces and on vertical leaves). Larvae eat host plant leaves, live in rolled-leaf nest (near leaf tip when L1 instar), diapause (hibernate) as L3 and L4 instar (possibly pupa), undergo 5 instars before pupation (Scott 1979, 1986, 1992, 2006; Layberry 1998). Males patrol weakly throughout the day among grasses at stream edges, springs, reservoirs, in search of females (Scott 1975b, 1986).

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Common Least Skipper — Ancyloxypha numitor.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from