New York Natural Heritage Program
Dusted Skipper
Atrytonopsis hianna (Scudder, 1868)
Insects

Identifying Characteristics [-]
This species can be identified from a good image or any specimen. The pictures must show the forewing spots and should also include good images of the upper and undersides.

Characters Most Useful for Identification [-]
The habitat and time of year are strong clues for identifying this species. Compare illustrations of the Roadside Skipper (Amblyscirtes vialis) and females of Hobomok Skippers (Poanes hobomok) and Zabulon Skippers (Poanes zabulon) from any butterfly guide. The white spot near the base of the underside of the hindwing is diagnostic if present. Otherwise, note the white above the eyes, the relatively straight thin line of apical spots, and the details of the underside color and pattern. There is no orange or yellow present on any surface.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
This species should be identified from adults, although an expert could identify the larva.

Behavior [-]
A localized late spring skipper always found near bluestem grasses, usually in sandy openings.

Diet [-]
In New York the primary, and possibly exclusive, larval foodplant is Little Bluestem grass (Schizachyrium scoparium), but Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) and other species of Andropogon grasses might also be used. The adults take nectar from a variety of native and non-native flowers including blueberry and other heaths, blackberry, and vetches.
Dusted Skipper Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
The adults occur for about two or three weeks in the spring, usually beginning to appear by the end of May. The larvae are probably mature by September and hibernate fully grown or nearly so, with pupation in the spring.
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Reproducing Larvae present and active Pupae or prepupae present
The time of year you would expect to find Dusted Skipper reproducing (blue shading), larvae present and active (green shading) and pupae or prepupae present (orange shading) in New York.