New Jersey Butterflies

Ocola Skipper

Panoquina ocola

Identification: Very small—FW ≥0.6", with long, narrow wings typical of the genus. Sexes similar. Above: FW brown with several white spots, the largest of which is arrowhead-shaped. These spots are usually larger in the female. HW unmarked brown with center somewhat paler. Below: FW and HW brown with noticeably paler veins, a violet sheen when fresh, and a variably distinct or obscure band of tiny spots across HW. Narrow FW extends well beyond HW. Alternate dark and pale stripes along length of abdomen. Similar skippers: Salt Marsh Skipper has a similar shape and profile but is paler and has a pronounced short white streak on HW.

NJ Status and Distribution: Immigrant. A variously very rare to uncommon visitor from the southern states.

NJ Range Map-Ocola Skipper

Habitat: Many open areas both wet and dry. Most often reported from gardens.

Flight Period: Most observations are from August to October. Extreme dates: North Jersey 8/6-10/28; South Jersey 6/24—11/16.

Larval Food Plants: Wetland grasses.

Overwintering Stage: Does not overwinter in NJ.

Best Locations: Flower gardens around Cape May Point.

Comments: Unusual for a southern species in that some years more are reported in northwestern NJ than in the southern counties. At least 1 Ocola Skipper was seen in the same residential garden in Sussex County in 7 years between 1995 and 2005. Most individuals were found on Butterfly Bush, although many other flowers were present. Interestingly, all but one individual was judged to be very fresh or fresh.

Ocola Skipper

Dennis Twp., Cape May Co., NJ, 9/11/12, on Tropical Milkweed.

Ocola Skipper

Rio Grande Valley, TX, 10/30/10, on Eupatorium.

Ocola Skipper

Big Cypress NP, FL, 1/23/08.