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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Uncas Skipper - Hesperia uncas


Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4

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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Layberry et al. 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.4-1.5 cm. Forewing of male with narrow stigma and black interior felt, female with dark patch in forewing cell. Uppersurface tawny-orange with dark border and basal area, forewing with white spots in the apical and submarginal areas (more extensive in females); undersurface of hindwing with white spots of postmedian band connected and forming chevron, veins usually white or silvery, submarginal patches blotchy dark brown.

Phenology
One flight, mid-June through July at high elevation and in California and Oregon; two flights, mainly June to August in the prairies; severel flights, late April to mid-September southward (Scott 1986). One-brood areas, mainly June thorugh July; two-brood areas, May to September (Glassberg 2001). Mid-June to late July in Canada (Layberry et al. 1998). May to September in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981). Late May to late August in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978), early June to late September in North Dakota (McCabe and Post 1976), Mid-May to late June in Oregon (Pyle 2002; Warren 2005).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by a combination of the hindwing undersurface with white spots of postmedian band connected and forming chevron, veins usually white or silvery, submarginal patches blotchy dark brown.

Species Range
Montana Range

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Range Comments
Central Alberta east to southwestern Manitoba, south to east-central California, southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, western and northern Texas, western Kansas and Oklahoma (Scott 1986; Layberry et al. 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002); 1311 m to at least 3962 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978), 1097 m to at least 1280 m elevation in Oregon (Warren 2005). In Montana, reported from at least 33 counties across the state (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993; FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database), from about 610 m to about 3048 m elevation. Mainly rare to uncommon (Glassberg 2001).

Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 2

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Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Migration
Non-migratory.

Habitat
Short-grass prairie, grassy alkali flats, open woodland, sagebrush, above treeline in alpine terrain (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Bailowitz 1988; Layberry et al. 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002; Warren 2005). Also present in prairie riparian communities dominated by grasses and open woodlands, avoiding dense Tamarix stands (Nelson and Wydoski 2008). Habitat in Montana not described, but probably similar; county records include reports from prairie grassland and pothole regions, and alpine terrain in mountains (FLMNH Lepidopteristis' Society database).

Food Habits
Larval food plants are grasses, including Achnatherum, Bouteloua (multiple species), Erioneuron, and Stipa; also Poa in captivity (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986, 1992; Layberry et al. 1998; Warren 2005). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Agoseris, Arabis, Asclepias, Astragalus, Carduus, Chrysothamnus, Cirsium, Cryptantha, Erigeron, Erysimum, Grindelia, Helianthus, Heterotheca, Hymenopappus, Liatris, Lupinus, Medicago, Monarda, Opuntia, Oxytropis, Penstemon, Potentilla, Senecio, Symphyotrichum, Tamarix, Taraxacum, Thelesperma, Verbesina) and mud (Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Limited information. Females lay eggs singly on or near the host plant (Scott 1986, 1992). In captivity, develop from oviposition to pupae in 83-114 days, adults eclose (emerge) from pupae in captivity in 19-36 days (Scott 1975e). Larvae feed on host plant leaves, construct silk-tied leaf nests, the overwintering stage apparently unreported (Scott 1986). Males perch throughout the day on small prairie elevations, hilltops, and desert bajadas while awaiting passing females, which they pursue (Scott 1975b, 1982, 1986; Warren 2005).

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Uncas Skipper — Hesperia uncas.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from