New Jersey Butterflies

Dotted Skipper

Hesperia attalus

Identification: Very small—FW ≥0.6". Sexes similar below. Above: Male FW brown with dull orange patch in center crossed by prominent black stigma. Female FW dark brown with 8-10 pale spots (including "bracelet"), no orange patch. In both sexes, HW pattern mirrors the ventral dot pattern, and FW shows 2 isolated spots toward the tip (beyond the "bracelet"). Below: Background color varies from yellow-orange to brown. HW with variably pale to bright white spots (one isolated spot inside a chevron of spots)—easy to see on brown background but more difficult on lighter background color. HW spots usually more prominent in female. FW usually has 2 visible subapical spots beyond the "bracelet." FW fringe dark, HW fringe light. Similar skippers: Crossline Skipper very similar, but lacks the 2 subapical FW spots, and fringes on both FW and HW are darkish.

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. Classified as Special Concern in NJ. Uncommon to rare and local in the Pine Barrens and Delaware Bayshore.

NJ Range Map-Dotted Skipper

Habitat: Dry, sandy, rather sparsely vegetated areas. Not known to visit gardens probably owing to rarity.

Flight Period: One brood—early June into August, but most common from late June to mid-July. Extreme dates: 6/8—7/17.

Larval Food Plants: Various upland grasses including Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum).

Overwintering Stage: Larva.

Best Locations: Double Trouble SP, Colliers Mills WMA, Manamuskin River Preserve, Franklin Parker Preserve, and dry fields around Lakehurst Bog.


Dotted Skipper

Male, Colliers Mills WMA, Ocean Co., NJ, 6/10/12, on Pine Barrens Sandwort.

Dotted Skipper

Colliers Mills WMA, Ocean Co., NJ, 6/10/12, on Pine Barrens Sandwort.

Dotted Skipper

Manumuskin River Preserve, Cumberland Co., 7/9/11, on Spotted Knapweed.