Arctic Skipper

Carterocephalus palaemon

The Arctic Skipper is a late spring woodland skipper of northern Wisconsin. This species, along with the Hobomok Skipper and the Indian Skipper, are the first really colorful skippers of the year. These skippers all contrast greatly with the drab, brownish Duskywings and Elfins that may have been flying for nearly a month before this species appears. I have seen the Arctic Skipper nectaring on wild geranium and wild iris.

Weekly sightings for Arctic Skipper

Identifying characteristics

A small, distinctive skipper. Above, this species is dark brown with many scattered orange spots. Below, this species superficially resembles a miniature fritillary, with a brownish-orange base with fairly large white spots.

Similar species

This little skipper does resemble a little fritillary, but it is unlikely that it would be mistaken for one, even in the field, because of its small size. There are no similar looking skippers in Wisconsin that should be confused with this species.


Moist forest edges and trails.


Mid-May through early July.


This species is usually found singly along trails; I have seen over 20 in one day along trails in the Sandhill State Wildlife Area.

Late Arctic Skipper Sightings

Date County Reported by
Jul 4, 2020 Douglas Scott and Ann Swengel
Jul 5, 2019 Price Randy Powers
Jul 5, 2015 Bayfield Ryan Brady
Jul 10, 2008 Portage Wayne Anderson
Jul 11, 2013 Bayfield Scott and Ann Swengel


Map showing sighting locations for Arctic Skipper
Map key
Arctic SkipperClick to enlarge

Plainfield TriCounty School Forest, Waushara Co., WI, May 31, 2003.

Arctic SkipperClick to enlarge

Plainfield TriCounty School Forest, Waushara Co., WI, June 8, 2003.

Arctic SkipperClick to enlarge

Soules Creek public hunting lands, Waushara Co., WI, June 12, 2003.