Broad-winged Skipper

Poanes viator

This has always been one of my favorite skippers because of its slightly longer flight period that allows them to peak in numbers after other species have begun to dwindle. Although this species is said to use Carex sedges as host plants in the Midwest, it does use Phragmites in the east, and whether or not it uses this species here in Wisconsin, I have found it much more abundant where Phragmites does occur.

It is also very fond of swamp milkweed, and I have seen 7-10 individuals on a single plant. This species is often found in the same habitat as the Black Dash, Mulberry Wing, and Dion Skipper.

Weekly sightings for Broad-winged Skipper

Identifying characteristics

Below, this species has a single light stripe in the middle of the hindwing, with a single spot above the stripe and several, often obscure light spots below it. Above, the male lacks a stigma on the forewing and the pattern is very similar to the pattern of the female Long Dash. These spots on the male are orange, while the female has white spots. The hindwing from above looks very similar to the hindwing from below.

Similar species

As noted above, this species from above does resemble the female Long Dash, but the Long Dash is a smaller skipper and looks very different from the Broad-winged Skipper below. The Broad-winged Skipper is very distinctive below and should not be confused with any other skipper in Wisconsin.

Habitat

Marshes and sedge meadows. This species is not found far from its wetland habitat.

Flight

Found from the last week in June to early August. This species seems to peak later in the season than the other sedge skippers.

Abundance

This species likes larger wetland areas, and where found it may be found in large numbers. I have seen over 100 of this species in one day in both Marquette and Green Lake Counties.

Late Broad-winged Skipper Sightings

Date County Reported by
Aug 7, 2016 Dunn Pam Campbell
Aug 8, 2013 Barron Erik Ostrum
Aug 8, 2008 Wood Ron Arnold
Aug 8, 2003 Waushara Mike Reese
Aug 15, 2013 Dunn Erik Ostrum

Locations

Map showing sighting locations for Broad-winged Skipper
Map key
Broad-winged SkipperClick to enlarge

White River Marsh, Green Lake Co., WI, August 1, 2003.

Broad-winged SkipperClick to enlarge

Sandhill Wildlife Area, Wood Co., WI, July 4, 2004.

Broad-winged SkipperClick to enlarge

Female

White River Marsh, Green Lake Co., WI, August 1, 2003.

Broad-winged SkipperClick to enlarge

Poygan Marsh, Waushara Co., WI, July 23, 2002.

Broad-winged SkipperClick to enlarge

Nectaring with a black dash

Germania Marsh, Marquette Co., WI, July 17, 2005.

Broad-winged SkipperClick to enlarge

Male

Trempealeau NWR, Trempealeau Co., WI. July 10, 2006.

Broad-winged SkipperClick to enlarge

Male

Trempealeau NWR, Trempealeau Co., WI. July 11, 2007.