Megathymus yuccae – Yucca Giant Skipper

If you’ve followed me through my big year effort last year this might be a little deja vu from one of my first posts last year. But this year I found a neat video link about this critter from Dr. Andrew Warren at the University of Florida. One neat side note (for me) – Dr. Warren is from Denver and I met him on a chance encounter back in 1991 on M Mountain outside of Golden when we were both looking for Nais Metalmark butterflies (Apodemis nais). He was still in high school at that time, young and full of energy. Even then you could tell that he was not your average novice. Anyway it’s an awesome video, entertaining and full of information. So here’s the link – enjoy!

I wonder if all those collection drawers between the east and west coast specimens were all Yucca Giant Skippers? Wow!

In Nebraska this interesting skipper was a rather recent discovery (in the mid 1980s), probably due to it’s early flight period, the rarity of adults and the desolate appearance of it’s habitat at that time of year. Unless you were looking specifically for this butterfly you would probably not give their habitat a second look as you drove by in early May. Once we were alerted to it’s presence and knew what to look for we were able to find it at a number of locations in western and southwestern Nebraska. Oddly it has yet to be found in the sandhills region although yuccas are common to abundant there.

These skippers should be flying right now (late April – mid May). Finding adults takes a little luck and perseverance. If you go looking keep in mind that these are rare insects so finding them makes for a special day. The tents are somewhat easier to find but still finding one in an hour at an established population is about average. We’ve found tents at Harlan County Reservoir (Harlan Co.), Ash Hollow State Historical Park (Garden Co.) and Box Elder State Wildlife Management Area (Lincoln Co.) in the past. So go check out your local yucca patch. If you don’t find them you may see a few other spring oddities (Silvery Blues Glaucopsyche lygdamus or Olympia Marblewings Euchloe olympia) instead. If you have any questions, see one of these skippers anywhere or take any interesting butterfly pics we’d love to hear from you at

One thought on “Megathymus yuccae – Yucca Giant Skipper

  1. You mention tents. I’m confused. The female lays eggs on the yucca? She only puts one egg per plant? When is the tent built? How many instars are there? When does the larvae burrow into the stem/root? As you can see, I know NOTHING!

    Sent from AT&T Yahoo Mail for iPhone

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