Twin Cities Field Office
4101 American Boulevard East
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Species of Concern
Poweshiek Skipperling (Oarisma poweshiek)
Named for the county from which specimens were first collected (Poweshiek county, Iowa), the Poweshiek skipperling is a small butterfly of Minnesota's native prairie. With a wingspan of about an inch and a mostly dark brown coloring, it is an easy butterfly to miss. Although there are distinctive white veins on the underside of the hind wing that can be seen on resting butterflies. The Wisconsin Butterflies website has some beautiful photographs of this skipperling.
Recent data (2005-2009) confirm concerns about population trends throughout the range of the Poweshiek skipperling. More recent data were not available for North Dakota, where it was last seen in 2001. At the heart of it range in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota, where it was most abundant and was thought to be most secure, it appears to have disappeared from the majority of sites. Long-term survival of the Poweshiek skipperling may now be dependent on the smaller, more isolated populations at the periphery of its range in Michigan and Wisconsin. Regular surveys have been conducted at many of the sites in those states and most of the populations have remained relatively stable with moderate to low numbers at a time when they have been declining and/or disappearing from the remainder of its range.