New Jersey Butterflies

Salt Marsh Skipper

Panoquina panoquin

Identification: Very small—FW ≥0.5", with long, narrow wings typical of the genus. Sexes similar below. Above: FW and HW yellowish to dark brown with several pale FW spots: a "bracelet," 3 diagonal spots, and a cell-end spot, all of which are usually more prominent in females. A faint streak on HW mirrors the underside. Below: FW and HW light brown with pale veins and a distinct, short, white stripe in middle of HW. Alternate dark and pale stripes along length of abdomen. Similar skippers: Ocola is similar in shape and color, but lacks the white stripe on the HW below.

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. Locally common in and near salt marshes from Ocean to Salem counties.

NJ Range Map-Salt Marsh Skipper

Habitat: Salt marshes and nearby fields, meadows, and gardens.

Flight Period: Two broods—June-July, and August-September. Extreme dates: 5/29—10/17.

Larval Food Plants: Probably Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata).

Overwintering Stage: Unreported.

Best Locations: Brigantine NWR, Tuckahoe WMA, Wetlands Institute, Dennis Creek WMA, Heislerville WMA, and Mad Horse Creek WMA.

Comments: Seen in and along salt marshes often seen nectaring at Saltmarsh Fleabane (Pluchea purpurascens) and the tiny flowers of Sea Lavender (Limonium nashii). Should be looked for in remnant salt marshes from Monmouth County north to Bergen County.



Salt Marsh Skipper

Heislerville WMA, Cumberland Co., NJ, 6/26/02, on Spotted Knapweed.


Saltmarsh Grasses

Photograph of a NJ saltmarsh with 3 species of butterfly host plants. In the foreground is Saltmarsh Cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) which may be a primary host for Saltmarsh Skipper and possibly Aaron's Skipper. In the middle distance is Tall or Big Cordgrass (S. cynosuroides) which is a host for Rare Skipper in NJ and Broad-winged Skipper. And the tall grass in the back is Common Reed (Phragmites australis) which is another host for Broad-winged Skipper.