Species Page: Yucca Giant-Skipper (Megathymus yuccae)

Yucca Giant-Skipper

Megathymus yuccae (Boisduval & Le Conte [1837])

Family: Hesperiidae

Status: Uncommon/rare resident

NENHP Ranking: S3S4, Tier 2

Range: This species is found across the southern half of the United States south to central Mexico. In Nebraska it has been found in the panhandle and in the loess hills of south central and southwest portions of the state.

Larval Hostplant(s): Yucca – Yucca glauca.

Broods/Flight Times: One early spring flight from mid-April to mid-May.

Overwintering: As fully grown larvae in a burrow in the root of the hostplant.

Habitat: Loess hills with extensive yucca growth.

Avg. Wingspan: 1 7/8 – 3 1/8 inches

Found at: Ash Hollow SHP, Swanson and Enders Reservoirs SRAs, Harlan County Reservoir, Box Elder SWMA

Similar Species: Strecker’s Giant-Skipper which is larger and flies a month later.

Notes: Probably under-reported due to it’s early flight period and remote locations. Females lay eggs on yucca leaves. Upon hatching the larvae burrow into the root of the yucca plant and leave a telltale “tent” made of frass and silk in the center of the plant which may last several years. Many records consist of finding these tent rather than the insect itself. This skipper has yet to be found in the sandhills region despite the large number of yucca that thrive there.

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