New Jersey Butterflies

Crossline Skipper

Polites origenes

Identification: Very small—FW ~0.6". Sexes similar below. Above: Male: Large, black, tapering stigma crosses center of FW rather than paralleling leading edge, and separates orange along leading edge of FW from dark brown remainder of wing (which includes 2 or 3 small yellow spots adjacent to the stigma). Female FW is overall dark brown, sometimes with a tawny leading edge, and includes 3 pale "bracelet" spots" toward wingtip and 2 or 3 conspicuous pale spots in center of wing. HW in both sexes may have a vague pale to orangey center. Below: Both wings dull brownish, HW with a band of pale postmedian spots that may be conspicuous, faint, or nearly absent. Similar skippers: Tawny-edged is smaller, usually shows more contrast below between dull brown HW and orange on leading edge of FW, and spotband, if present, is usually faint. Male's stigma is thick, not tapering, and there is a rectangular pale spot at end of stigma.

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. Uncommon and local throughout.

NJ Range Map-Crossline Skipper

Habitat: Most open areas, including disturbed sites.

Flight Period: One brood in northern counties, early-June—late August. Second brood in central and southern counties flies into late September/early October. Extreme dates: North Jersey 5/11—9/26; South Jersey 5/13—9/28.

Larval Food Plants: Purpletop Tridens grass (Tridens flavus), Little Bluestem grass (Schizachyrium scoparium), and possibly manna grasses (Glyceria spp.).

Overwintering Stage: Larva.

Best Locations: Schooley's Mountain CP, Willowwood Arboretum, White Lake NRA, Arctic Meadows Preserve, High Point SP, Riverwinds Scenic Trail.

Comments: Seems to be getting harder to find—populations may be declining. Can be difficult to separate from Tawny-edged Skipper.



Crossline Skipper

Male, Lakehurst, Ocean Co., NJ, 6/22/05, on Yarrow.


Crossline Skipper

Female, Flatbrookville, Sussex Co., NJ, 7/30/04.


Crossline Skipper

Ironia, Morris Co., NJ, 7/7/02.