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Dakota skipper (Hesperia dacotae)
The Dakota skipper is a small- to mid-sized butterfly that inhabits high-quality tallgrass and mixed-grass prairie in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota in the United States, and the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan in Canada. The species is presumed to be extirpated from Iowa and Illinois and from many sites within occupied U.S. States.
The Dakota skipper is threatened by degradation of its native prairie habitat by overgrazing, invasive species, gravel mining, and herbicide applications; inbreeding, population isolation, and prescribed fire threaten some populations. Prairie succeeds to shrubland or forest without periodic fire, grazing, or mowing; thus, the species is also threatened at sites where such disturbances are not applied. The Service and other Federal agencies, State agencies, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, and some private organizations (e.g., The Nature Conservancy) protect and manage some Dakota skipper sites. Careful and considered management is always necessary to ensure the species’ persistence, even at protected sites. The species may be secure at a few sites where public and private landowners manage native prairie in ways that conserve Dakota skipper, but approximately half of the inhabited sites are privately owned with little or no protection. A few private sites are protected from conversion by easements, but these do not preclude adverse effects from overgrazing. The threats are such that the Dakota skipper warrants listing. The threats are moderate in magnitude because some sites are protected through careful and considered management, and therefore they do not affect the species uniformly throughout its range. The threats are ongoing, and therefore imminent. We assigned this species an LPN of 8 to reflect the immediacy of threats to remnant habitat, particularly on private lands.
- excerpted from the 2011 Candidate Notice of Review (71-page PDF)
Dakota Skipper Natural History and Status Information:
Dakota Skipper Management:
Dakota Skipper Restoration:
Dakota Skipper Regulatory Information:
Last updated: January 3, 2013