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Crossline Skipper - Polites origenes


Global Rank: G4G5
State Rank: SU

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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001] Forewing 1.4-1.6 cm. Forewing pointed. Uppersurface of male forewing with stigma (male scent patch) gray-brown, elongate, relatively straight and narrow, male forewing also with extensive orange and an additonal yellowish spot distal to stigma; female dark brown, forewing usually with litle or no orange along costa, a large squarish yellowish patch below end of cell. Undersurface of hindwing (both sexes) usually light brown or tan with a faint postmedian band of distinct paler spots and a "brassy" appearance.

Phenology
One flight, late June to mid-July northward and in the mountains; two flights, June to early September in the Upper Midwest (Scott 1986). Mid-June through July (Glassberg 2001). Late June to mid-August in eastern Canada (Layberry et al. 1998), mid-June through July in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981), early June to mid-July in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978; Scott and Epstein 1987), late June to early August in North Dakota (McCabe and Post 1976).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by a combination of male forewing stigma gray-brown, elongate, relatively straight and narrow, wing with extensive orange and an additional yellowish spot distal to stigma; female forewing dark brown usually with litle or no orange along costa, a squarish yellowish patch below end of cell. Hindwing undersurface usually light brown or tan with a faint postmedian band of distinct paler spots.

Species Range
Montana Range

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Range Comments
Eastern Montana and western North Dakota south along Rocky Mountain front in Colorado to northeastern New Mexico, east to southern Ontario, southeastern Quebec, and central Maine south to northeastern Texas, Gulf Coast, northern Florida (Scott 1986; Layberry 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001); 1585 m to 2316 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978). In Montana, reported since 1994 from at least 5 far eastern counties (Carter, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Richland), to about 1070 m elevation (FLMNH Lepidopterists' Society database); reports from Gallatin and Madison counties (Kohler 1980) apparently in error (Stanford and Opler 1993). Locally uncommon to common (Glassberg 2001).

Migration
Non-migratory.

Habitat
Old fields, grassy openings, dry and moist meadows, prairie hills, barrens, power-line corridors, open woodland (Scott 1986; Layberry et al. 1998; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Swengel and Swengel 2015). Habitat in Montana not described but probably similar.

Food Habits
Larval food plants are grasses, including Andropogon (multiple species), Bouteloua, Panicum, and Tridens (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; Layberry et al. 1998). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Achillea, Apocynum, Asclepias, Blephilia, Carduus, Cirsium, Clematis, Diospyros, Echinacea, Geranium, Hedysarum, Helianthus, Heterotheca, Medicago, Monarda, Oxytropis, Penstemon, Ratibida, Solidago, Symphoricarpos, Verbena, Vernonia), willow sap, and mud (Tooker et al. 2002; Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Limited information. Females lay eggs singly on host plant leaves, generally the undersurface. Larve feed on host plant leaves, live in rolled leaf nests 5-15 cm above ground, hibernate (diapause) as L3 and L4 instars, larvae, pupate and eclose (emerge as adults) the next spring (Scott 1979, 1986, 1992, 2006). Males perch throughout the day in grassy swales and valley bottoms awaiting passing females (Scott 1975b, 1986).

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Crossline Skipper — Polites origenes.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from