Euphyes dukesi (Lindsey, 1923)
NatureServe Global Rank: G3
Virginia State Rank: S2
VA DGIF Tier: III
Federal Legal Status: None
Virginia Legal Status: None
Description: The Dukes' Skipper is sexually dimorphic on the dorsal sides of the wings. It follows the same trend of coloration and markings as the other Euphyes species, with both males and females. This species tends to have less light markings on the dorsal which enables it to be pretty comfortably distinguished based on dorsal characteristics from the other Euphyes species. Males have a dull orange patch spanning the base of the wing towards the middle of the wing, bisected by a black stigma. This patch is variable in size and can be almost completely absent, especially when worn. The outside half of the wings is dark brown/black. The female has mainly black front wings with a few small yellow-orange spots near the central area. They tend to lack the wrist bracelet markings. Both sexes have pale but relatively extensive markings on the dorsal hind wings, and the ventral hind wing is a lighter brown with two lighter tan rays starting near the base of the wing and transverse the length to the outer edge. Both sexes have rounded wings than seen in other wetland species.
Similar species: Dukes' Skipper can easily be distinguished from other species by the combination of the reduced light markings on the dorsal front wings, the rounded wing edges and the lighter ventral hind wing transversed by tan rays. If the dorsal side is not visible the ventral hind wing can look similar to a few other wetland skipper species. Aaron's Skipper (Poanes aaroni)and Dion Skipper (Euphyes dion) both display similar rays on the ventral hind wing. Aaron's Skipper has more of a gray-brown coloration and has only one transverse ray while both Dukes' and Dion Skippers have two (the second on the wing nearer to the abdomen). Dion Skippers differ in color as well, having a darker orange-toned brown with yellowish rays and light-colored wing venation. The shape of wings can still be observed from the ventral aspect, and Dukes' is more rounded than the other two species.
North American Range: Dukes' Skipper is relatively rare and found on the Atlantic coastal plain. They have been reported in the Mississippi River Valley and the Great Lakes areas as well.
VA Observations by Locality: Chesapeake, City of | Suffolk, City of | Virginia Beach, City of | Chesapeake, City of | Virginia Beach, City of | Chesapeake, City of | Virginia Beach, City of
Flight season and broods: Dukes' Skipper usually occurs in 2 broods from June to September with the possibility of 3 broods in the Deep South.
Habitat and Food Plants: Dukes' Skippers prefer wet, marshy areas. They are found in swamps, open marshes, and wet roadside ditches, while expansive estuarine or coastal marshes are preferred. Dukes' Skippers prefer broad-leaved sedges such as Shoreline Sedge (Carex hyalinolepis). These plants are found in the favored swamp-like habitats of Dukes' Skipper.
Behavior and Ecology: This species is unique in that it actively patrols for mates instead of staying perched. The caterpillars of this species have been known to over-winter. They are a specialist regarding their habitat needs and tend to be reclusive. While it is extremely difficult to locate this species in the expansive marshes where it occurs, they can be occasionally found at the marsh edges taking nectar. They have a quick flight but can be relatively easy to approach while taking nectar.
Population trend and potential threats: Due to the specialist nature of these skippers, it is important that conservation efforts are practiced wherever a colony exists.
Management practices: None as of yet, but preserving large expanses of open marshes should be enough to protect this species.
References: Cech, R. and G. Tudor. 2005. Butterflies of the East Coast. Pg. 295. Princeton University Press.
Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. Eastern Butterflies. Pg. 299. Houghton Mifflin Company.
Pyle, R. M. 1981. Field Guide to North American Butterflies. National Audubon Society.
Smith, T. P. 2011. Predictive capabilities of GIS for the distribution of specialist wetland Skippers (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae) in South Carolina. MES thesis at College of Charleston, SC. ProQuest LLC publishing company.
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, 600 E. Main St., 24th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219
This atlas was compiled
by the VA Natural Heritage Program with funds provided by the VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries through a state wildlife grant
from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Last Modified: Tuesday, 24 January 2017, 10:12:03 PM