New to the state – Ocola Skipper

This past week Steve Spomer sent me some pictures of a skipper one of his up and coming young protégés, Jonathan Xing caught in his yard in Lincoln late last summer. When Jonathan had described it to Steve over the phone Steve had thought it was probably a Eufala Skipper. But after finally seeing it in person he was in agreement with Jonathan who had already ided it as an Ocola Skipper. After circulating to photos to several experts who encounter it more frequently than we Nebraskans everyone is in agreement that it is indeed an Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

The Ocola skipper is a tropical species, being a permanent resident from South America north into the Gulf States. From there is occasionally strays northward, most frequently along the east coast. The next nearest record from our area is from the Wichita, Kansas area on Oct 21, 2015 after several days of strong south winds. Jonathan caught his skipper on August 5, 2020. Larvae of this skipper feed on several tropical wetland grasses, none of which occur in NE so this species would be a non-breeding stray in our area. Congratulations Jonathan on recording a new state record!!

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