New Jersey Butterflies

Arctic Skipper

Carterocephalus palaemon

Identification: Tiny—FW <0.5". Above: FW and HW dark brown with numerous squarish, orange spots throughout FW and on inner HW, and a row of small, submarginal, orange spots on HW. Below: FW orange with brown markings (but mostly hidden); HW orangey-brown with several roundish white spots of various sizes and a row of small, square white spots paralleling the margin.

NJ Status and Distribution: Probably extirpated. A northern species that for many years was known from only one location, in High Point SP. Last reported in 2005.

NJ Range Map-Arctic Skipper

Habitat: Herbaceous wetlands dominated by grasses and sedges.

Flight Period: One brood, late May to mid-June. Extreme dates: 5/20—6/21.

Larval Food Plants: Wetland grasses, possibly Calamagrostis.

Overwintering Stage: Larva.

Best Locations: High Point SP was the only location known in NJ.

Comments: Arctic Skipper was first reported in NJ in 1986, and for the next 20 years or so it was not unusual to see 10-15 individuals/day nectaring on Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) along Sawmill Road along with Hobomok and Pepper and Salt skippers. Our warming climate may be responsible for NJ's loss of this tiny jewel of a butterfly.



Arctic Skipper

Connecticut Lakes, NH, 6/6/10.


Arctic Skipper

Hight Point SP, Sussex Co., NJ, 6/1/95, on Wild Geranium.