Hesperia dacotae!

It's a butterfly. It's "threatened," don't squash em.

Guess where it lives? South Dakota mostly, and the other Dakota, and Minnesota a little bit. It's a "northern prairie endemic species."

This thing is ittybitty. The male's forewing length is about a centimeter and a half. It lacks good field marks to distinguish it from other skippers found during the same mid-June to mid-July flight period. Males are usually a smooth tawny orange above and clear yellowish underneath with a light spotband on the hindwings. Females get gypped on color as usual. Pale grayish brown with the lighter spotband more evident. This species is characterized by its rapid flight.

It lives on gravelly, calcareous, alkaline, dry to moist prairies, often on glacial lakeshores. The adult butterfly likes asters (fleabanes and purple coneflowers), harebell and tooth-leaved primrose as nectar sources. Eggs are laid on broad-leaved plants like vetches.

Larvae (caterpillars) feed on numerous types of grasses. Larvae make long vertical silklined tubes at the ground surface, leaving the tubes to feed. The tubes elongate into the soil as they grow and are underground by fall. Adults seek high vantage points on the windward side of the prairie. In North Dakota, alkali grass is a good indicator of Dakota skipper habitat. Adults travel only about 100 feet from the emergence site.

So, this is a threatened species. Remaining tracts of habitat are critical and are threatened by a variety of forces, including inappropriately timed fire, overgrazing, cessation of proper management, herbicides, pesticides, gravel mining and conversion of prairie habitat to cropland. Its typical habitat, usually unsuited for agricultural purposes, is used as hayland and pasture. After grazing, the vegetation community may change and become unsuitable habitat for this butterfly. The current scattered distribution of this prairie butterfly is a result of agricultural development rather than natural distribution. Humans fuck it up again.

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