Species Page: Pawnee/Leonard’s Skipper (Hesperia leonardus pawnee)

Pawnee Skipper

Hesperia leonardus pawnee (Dodge, 1874)

Family: Hesperiidae

Status: Uncommon to common resident in the western half of the state

NENHP Ranking: Not listed

Range: With the exception of the southeastern corner the Pawnee Skipper has been found statewide, albeit not recently in the eastern half. East of the 100th meridian the species generally becomes scarce. In eastern Nebraska the species should be sought in the bluffs along the Missouri River or other high quality prairies.

Larval Hostplant(s): Grasses, primarily Andropogon scopariusA. gerardii and Bouteloua curtipendula.

Broods/Flight Times: One late summer flight, which has been recorded from August 17 to September 13 in Nebraska.

Overwintering: As a young caterpillar.

Habitat: The species favors short to mixed grass prairies and is often common in western Nebraska.

Avg. Wingspan: 1 1/4 – 1 3/4 inches

Found at: Ash Hollow SHP, Niobrara Valley Preserve, Harry Strunk Lake (Frontier Co), Cedar Point Biological Station (Keith Co), Sidney I-80 East Rest Area, Calamus Reservoir, Wildcat Hills & Atkison Lake SRAs, Scotia Chalk Mine, Calamus Fish Hatchery.

Similar Species: Ottoe and Arogos Skippers

Notes: Adults take nectar from Liatris, thistles, verbena, asters and sunflowers. When upland areas are arid adults have been found in wetlands on Joe-Pye weed and marsh marigold. A montane subspecies (montana) flies in a restricted area in the South Platte River valley in Colorado. Subspecies pawnee ranges from the foothills of eastern Montana and eastern Colorado east to Minnesota and Nebraska. After a narrow blend zone in western Iowa, subspecies l. leonardus is found ranging to the east coast. Nebraska specimens are typical pawnee (the type locality is Dodge County, Nebraska) although some specimens from western portions of the state resemble subspecies montana and specimens from the northeastern portion of the state have the potential to blend with eastern l. leonardus.