Common Branded Skipper

Hesperia comma

I made my first trip up north to search for this skipper in 2006. I could not find anyone who knew where or when to see this species, but that didn’t stop me from heading north in hopes of finding this late-season, northern species. I chose to check a site in Iron County, north of Mercer, and found the butterfly within minutes of parking my car. I later saw this species in all locations that I checked in Iron, Vilas, and Florence Counties, so it appears that this is a fairly common species in these northern counties.

Weekly sightings for Common Branded Skipper

Identifying characteristics

Below, this skipper is a dull orange, with very distinct white spots. Above, the male is orange with a fairly wide black margin, and a prominent stigma. The female is darker, with a couple of lighter spots in the middle of the front wings.

Similar species

The Leonard’s Skipper is very similar to this species; the upper wings of the male and female of these two species are nearly indistinguishable. Both skippers are late-season skippers and may be found together in some Wisconsin locations. Below, the Leonard’s Skipper has a reddish tinge to it, especially in very fresh individuals, while the Common Branded Skipper has a much lighter color, and even a somewhat greenish tinge.

Habitat

Fields, open areas in woodlands, and roadsides in the northern counties.

Flight

This species is single-brooded. It may be seen from mid-July to late August.

Abundance

Common in the northeastern counties in the state.

Early Common Branded Skipper Sightings

Date County Reported by
Jul 20, 2012 Bayfield Mike Reese
Jul 21, 2010 Bayfield Mike Reese
Jul 22, 2007 Marinette Ann & Scott Swengel
Jul 24, 2018 Ashland Ryan Brady
Jul 25, 2010 Bayfield Karl and Dorothy Legler

Locations

Map showing sighting locations for Common Branded Skipper
Map key
Common Branded SkipperClick to enlarge

Female

Tie Mill Rd., Florence Co., WI. August 4, 2006.

Common Branded SkipperClick to enlarge

Female

Tie Mill Rd., Florence Co., WI. August 4, 2006.

Common Branded SkipperClick to enlarge

Male displaying for a female

Tie Mill Rd., Florence Co., WI. August 4, 2006.