Wildlife Journal Junior!
New Hampshire PBS

Home       |       Wild Files       |       N.H. Animals       |       Animals A-Z       |       Watch Online

Arctic Skipper - Carterocephalus palaemon



 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum: Arthropoda
 Class: Insecta
 Order: Lepidoptera
 Family: Hesperiidae
 Genus: Carterocephalus


Arctic skipper

The Arctic skipper has a wingspan of 1 to 1.25 inches. The uppersides of its wings are dark brown with large orange spots and patches. The underside of its wings are tan to dark brown with white to cream colored spots edged in dark brown.


In North America, the Arctic skipper is found from central Alaska south to central California, in the Rocky Mountain region south to Wyoming, in the Great Lakes states, and in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New England.

The Arctic skipper is also found in Europe and Asia. In Britain it is known as the Chequered Skipper. It was once a common species, but now its is only found in a small part of western Scotland. The Arctic skipper is found in New Hampshire.


The Arctic skipper is found in moist meadows, bogs, grassy forest openings, and at the edges of streams.


The Arctic skipper caterpillar eats a variety of grasses, including purple reedgrass. The adult Arctic skipper eats nectar from flowers including wild iris and Jacob's ladder.


Arctic skipperThe female Arctic skipper lays single eggs on the leaves of a host grass plant from May to July. The eggs hatch in around 10 days. The larvae binds together leaves from the host plat with silk to make a shelter. It overwinters encased in its leaf home. When it emerges in the spring, it may rest for up to a week before it begins pupating. It emerges as a butterfly 5-6 weeks after pupating.