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Ottoe Skipper (Hesperia ottoe)



Ottoe skipper (Hesperia ottoe), State Endangered butterfly, has been found in mixed and tallgrass prairie. Sites are in dry prairie in Wisconsin. Bluestem grasses are it's host plant and this species nectars on prickly pear, milkweeds, vetch, blazing star, leadplant, purple coneflower, compassplant and sunflowers. This species is univoltine, with adults flying in late June to early August. Peak is late June or early July. Overwintering occurs in the larval stage and pupation occurs in a loose cocoon amid debris.

State status

Note: Ottoe Skipper (Hesperia ottoe) was added to the Wisconsin E/T list on January 1, 2014 per administrative rule ER-27-11. Learn more

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Ottoe Skipper (Hesperia ottoe). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Documented locations of Hesperia ottoe in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG3G4
Tracked by NHIY

Species guidance

Ottoe Skipper (Hesperia ottoe) has very few known occurrences in the state and is of the highest priority for conservation; we encourage you to consult with your District Ecologist or an NHI Zoologist for specific recommendations for your site.

Identification: A folded-wing skipper that perches with the frontwing angled to the hindwing. The orange forewing of the male shows a dark diagonal line (the stigma) and females are darker above with areas of orange. Males: yellowish orange unmarked above and females are faded brown with pale tan markings. Both sexes are pale orange below and may or may not have some medial spots on the hindwings. Wingspan: 29-35mm.

Similar Species: The Delaware, Arogos, and Indian skipper are more bright yellow-orange below. Delaware and European skippers are completely without a spot band, Indian has a band of large yellow spots, and Arogos has pale veins. The male Leonard's pawnee is pale buff below with some small medial spots and the females hav the forewing spots squarish, not round. The Laurentian skipper is northern and has a pattern of clear white spots on a greenish/golden background below.

Habitat: Mixed and tallgrass prairie. Sites are in dry prairie in Wisconsin.

Nectar Source: Prickly pear, milkweeds, vetch, blazing star, leadplant, purple coneflower, compassplant, sunflower. Monarda fistulosa.

Host Plant: Bluestem grasses, Andropogon gerardi and A. scoparius. In MN observed ovipositing on purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia). In MI larvae found on witchgrass (Leptoma cognatum).

State Distribution: Southern Wisconsin, Monroe Co.

Global Distribution: Southern areas of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Manitoba. Populations in central Illinois and Missouri then west to Texas, Colorado and Montana.

Phenology: Adults fly late June to early August. Peak is late June or early July. Univoltine.

Life and Natural History: Univoltine. Mating often occurs in late afternoon and females oviposit in the afternoon. They land on the ground and walk up to a grass plant where they will lay a single egg on the base of the stem. Eggs may be on the flowers of purple coneflower. Like all Hesperia, larvae spin a shelter at the base of grasses and go out to feed. Overwintering occurs in the larval stage. Pupation occurs in a loose cocoon amid debris.



Ottoe Skipper

Ottoe Skipper, male above. Crawford County.

Photo © Mike Reese.

Ottoe Skipper

Ottoe Skipper - Female below.

Photo © Ann Swengel.

Ottoe Skipper

Ottoe Skipper, male below.

Photo © Ann Swengel.

Ottoe Skipper

Female Ottoe Skipper.

Photo © Ann Swengel.

Ottoe Skipper

Male Ottoe Skipper.

Photo © Ann Swengel.

Last revised: Thursday, January 10, 2019