New Jersey Butterflies

Aaron's Skipper

Poanes aaroni

Identification: Very small—FW ≥0.6". Sexes similar below. Above: Male FW and HW mostly orange extending to leading edges, with wide brown band along the trailing edges. FW with "bird's head" mark (brown "head" and curved "bill," with orange "eye") pointing inward from wingtip. Female has smaller yellow areas on both wings, crossed by dark veins. Below: FW and HW pale yellow-brown or darker olive with paler, somewhat obscure, stripe along length of HW. Orange at base of FW usually visible. Similar skippers: Broad-winged Skipper is larger, and streak on rustier HW below is usually crossed by a short spotband. Dion Skipper has 2 rays on HW below. Aaron's is seldom seen any significant distance from its salt-marsh habitat.

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. Generally uncommon and local in and near salt and brackish marshes from Ocean to Cumberland counties, but can be locally abundant some years.

NJ Range Map-Aaron's Skipper

Habitat: Salt marshes and nearby fields and meadows. Visits gardens near marshes.

Flight Period: Two broods—June into July, and August-September. Extreme dates: 5/15—10/6.

Larval Food Plants: Possibly Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) and Salt Marsh Cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora).

Overwintering Stage: Unknown.

Best Locations: Cape May Bird Observatory CRE garden.

Comments: Apparently less widely distributed in NJ than Salt Marsh Skipper. It would be useful for someone to observe the first brood of Aaron’s Skippers laying eggs, identify the host plant, and follow the life cycle through adult emergence.

Aaron's Skipper

Male, Cape May, Cape May County, NJ, 9/8/08.

Aaron's Skipper

Cape May, Cape May County, NJ, 9/10/07