New Jersey Butterflies

Cobweb Skipper

Hesperia metea

Identification: Very small—FW ≥0.6". Sexes similar below. Above: Male FW brown with a faint orange field surrounding the black stigma, a pale "bracelet," and two small, isolated spots toward wingtip. HW dark brown with faint chevron mirroring underwing pattern. Female FW is dark brown with several white spots crossing the wing, a white "bracelet", and two tiny white dots near the leading edge. Below: HW brown with a white chevron and white along the veins, creating a cobweb effect. Similar skippers: No other NJ skipper has a cobweb pattern below.

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. Widespread, but much more common on the coastal Plain than in northern NJ where it is rare and local.

NJ Range Map-Cobweb Skipper

Habitat: Open, relatively barren areas dominated by Little Bluestem Grass. More common on sandy soils.

Flight Period: Flies only in spring, with one brood peaking in May. Extreme dates: North Jersey 4/22—6/11; South Jersey 4/15—6/10.

Larval Food Plants: Mainly Little Bluestem Grass (Schizachyrium scoparium), and other bluestems and beardgrasses (Andropogon).

Overwintering Stage: Mature larva.

Best Locations: Flatbrookville, Ramapo Mountain SF, Mountainside Park, Warren Grove RA, Belleplain SF, and Lizard Tail Swamp Preserve.

Comments: The first grass-skipper of spring, and flies for only a few weeks. Frequently perches on bare ground.

Cobweb Skipper

Male, Warren Grove RA, Ocean Co., NJ, 5/9/09.

Cobweb Skipper

Female, Mountainside Pk., Morris Co., NJ, 5/18/08.

Cobweb Skipper

Warren Grove RA, Ocean Co., NJ, 5/9/09.