Endangered Species
Midwest Region



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First Dakota skipper male reared at the Minnesota Zoo.

First Dakota skipper male reared at the Minnesota Zoo.

Photo courtesy of Erik Runquist/Minnesota Zoo


Dakota skipper (Hesperia dacotae)

Status: Threatened


The Dakota skipper is a small butterfly that lives in high-quality mixed and tallgrass prairie. It has been extirpated from Illinois and Iowa and now occurs in remnants of native mixed and tallgrass prairie in Minnesota, the Dakotas and southern Canada. The Dakota skipper is listed as threatened under the Endangered species Act and critical habitat has been designated.

Dakota skipper on prairie lily.

Dakota skipper on prairie lily.

Photo by USFWS; Phil Delphey


Dakota Skipper


Status: Threatened with a 4(d) rule; October 23, 2014

Critical Habitat Designated; October 1, 2015


Habitat: High quality tallgrass and mixed grass prairie


Lead Region: 3


Region 3 Lead Office: Twin Cities Field Office


Range: Minnesota, North Dakota, 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



Section 7 Guidance


Conservation Guidelines



Final Critical Habitat Designation

The Endangered Species Act defines critical habitat as an area that contains habitat features that are essential for the survival and recovery of a listed species, which may require special management considerations or protections. Regulation of critical habitat is limited to the requirement that federal agencies consult with the Service on any actions that may affect critical habitat. The Service can then recommend ways to minimize adverse effects to the habitat.


News Release (Sept. 30, 2015)


Dakota Skipper and Poweshiek Skipperling Critical Habitat


Dakota Skipper Natural History and Status:

Dakota Skipper Fact Sheet


Dakota Skipper Species Profile


Dakota Skipper Status Assessment (June 2002) PDF; 84 pages; 600KB


Dakota Skipper Conservation and Management:

Dakota Skipper Conservation Guidelines (revised January 2015)


Dakota Skipper Section 7 Guidance (updated February 2015)


Saving Minnesota's Prairie Butterflies - Minnesota Zoo


Private Stewardship Grant (May 2007): Restore Native Prairie and Oak Savanna Communities In the Little Sioux Watershed in Northwest Iowa – Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Dickinson, and O’Brien Counties, Iowa


Private Stewardship Grant (2005): Imperiled Species Conservation on Private Land in Western Minnesota (Wilkin, Ottertail, Grant, Pope, Kandiyohi, Big Stone, Yellow Medicine and Lac Qui Parle counties, Minnesota)



Archived Documents and Information Materials from Previous Federal Actions


Dakota Skipper and Poweshiek Skipperling Archives


Poweshiek Skipperling Home


Midwest Endangered Species Home


Last updated: September 30, 2015