Poweshiek Skipperling

Oarisma poweshiek

This species is listed as an endangered species by the Wisconsin DNR. The Poweshiek Skipperling is in decline throughout its distribution, and much additional information about this species is available online, including a species profile on the
Xerces website and a status assessment done by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (pdf). I searched for this species for two years at Puchyan Prairie State Natural Area before I could find it. This is not an easily accessible location while it was flooded in 2004, getting back to the Poweshiek Skipperling habitat involved hiking through a long stretch of water over a foot deep. Even when it is not flooded, it is still very difficult walking through a moist sedge meadow. To find this skipperling, I search all the flowering black-eyed susans, and looking for this species nectaring on it.

Weekly sightings for Poweshiek Skipperling

Identifying characteristics

This is a small skipper, dark brown above with some light orange along the wing margins and a lighter orange head. Below, this species is orange with very prominent whitened veins as its most distinguishing characteristic.

Similar species

Because of its distinctive white veins below and limited distribution, this species should not be confused with any other Wisconsin species. Least Skippers also fly in the moister areas near the Poweshiek habitat, but Poweshiek Skipperlings are considerably different in appearance.

Habitat

In Wisconsin this species is found mainly in undisturbed, wet mesic habitats. I have only seen the habitat at Puchyan Prairie SNA, and I have only seen this species in the drier sections, almost always within 100 meters of the oak woodland found in the middle of the state natural area.

Flight

This species has a single brood per year and may be found from late June until late July.

Abundance

A Wisconsin endangered species that is currently found at only two sites in Wisconsin. At the Puchyan Prairie site, the largest number of individuals I have seen is 12.

Early Poweshiek Skipperling Sightings

Date County Reported by
Jun 22, 2012 Waukesha Jim Ebner
Jun 26, 2012 Waukesha Jay Watson
Jun 27, 2012 Waukesha Douglas Buege
Jun 28, 2007 Green Lake Mike Reese, Tom Underwood
Jun 30, 2012 Waukesha Tom Bentley

Locations

Map showing sighting locations for Poweshiek Skipperling
Map key
Poweshiek SkipperlingClick to enlarge

Puchyan Prairie SNA, Green Lake Co., WI, July 3, 2006.

Poweshiek SkipperlingClick to enlarge

Puchyan Prairie SNA, Green Lake Co., WI, July 12, 2004.

Poweshiek SkipperlingClick to enlarge

Puchyan Prairie SNA, Green Lake Co., WI, July 3, 2006.

Poweshiek SkipperlingClick to enlarge

Puchyan Prairie SNA, Green Lake Co., WI, June 28, 2007.

Poweshiek SkipperlingClick to enlarge

Puchyan Prairie SNA, Green Lake Co., WI, June 28, 2007.

Poweshiek SkipperlingClick to enlarge

Puchyan Prairie SNA, Green Lake Co., WI, July 17, 2004.

Poweshiek SkipperlingClick to enlarge

Puchyan Prairie SNA, Green Lake Co., WI, July 17, 2004.

Poweshiek SkipperlingClick to enlarge

Puchyan Prairie SNA, Green Lake Co., WI, July 8, 2005.