Endangered Species
Midwest Region



Map of Region 3 Minnesota Wisconsin Michigan

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Powesheik skipperling by David L. Cuthrell

Photo courtesy of David. L. Cuthrell


Poweshiek Skipperling (Oarisma poweshiek)

Status: Endangered

Poweshiek skipperlings are small butterflies most often found in remnants of native prairie in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin and in fens in Michigan. However, this skipperling may have been extirpated from the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa within the last 10 years – an area that, until recently, contained the vast majority of the surviving populations. It is now known only from Wisconsin, Michigan and Manitoba. During surveys in 2014, the species could be found only at a few sites in a single Michigan county, in very limited numbers at one site in Wisconsin, and in Canada at the single Manitoba site.

Poweshiek skipperling on a  black-eyed susan.

Photo by Tamara Smith; USFWS


Status: Endangered; Listed Oct. 24, 2014

Critical Habitat Designated: Oct. 1, 2015


Habitat: High quality tallgrass and mixed grass prairie


Lead Region: 3


Region 3 Lead Office: Twin Cities Field Office


Range: Michigan and Wisconsin - - Recently extirpated from Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota


Critical Habitat: Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin


About Listing: Listing the Dakota Skipper and Poweshiek Skipperling and Designating Critical Habitat



Poweshiek Skipperling Conservation

Many conservation partners are working together to prevent extinction of the Poweshiek skipperling. They are focusing on the few remaining sites in Michigan and Manitoba, Canada where the Poweshiek is still present. Several zoos are developing captive rearing strategies to bolster existing populations.


Saving Minnesota's Prairie Butterflies - Minnesota Zoo's captive propagation work


Rare butterfly rests its wings in unique SE Michigan ecosystem - radio story from WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University (2016)


Stopping Extinction of a Prairie Butterfly - Poweshiek Skipperling Article summarizes plans for a "head start" program.


Searching for Endangered Poweshieks - Article about surveys for Poweshiek skipperlings


Fact Sheet


Species Profile



Archived Documents and Information Materials from Previous Federal Actions


Dakota Skipper and Poweshiek Skipperling Archives

Dakota Skipper Home

USFWS Midwest Endangered Species Home


Last updated: December 14, 2017