Ochlodes sylvanoides napa

Photo Life History: Ochlodes sylvanoides napa

Habitat:  Mountain Canyons; Agricultural Areas; Valley Wet Meadows; Valley Lakes & Rivers;

Host Plants:  Phalaris arundinacea

Suitable Lab Host Plants: Sorghum halepense; Bromus inermus (This is a very short list.  Most wide-bladed weedy grasses work fine to feed this larva in the lab.  This skipper can be a very common generalist.)  

Caring for Live Female Butterflies:  Nectaring techniques

Methods of Female Oviposition:  Portable Cages; Open Screen Cages

How to Find Eggs:  Look on grass blades.  Looking for eggs is somewhat impractical; since larvae overwinter as young first instar larvae and post-diapause larvae can be found.

How to Hatch Eggs:  Consolidate eggs into one container.

How to Find Caterpillars in the Field: Finding post-diapause caterpillars can be one of the most effective strategies for raising this skipper.  It is a lot easier to find first and second instars in numbers during mid-April to early May as opposed to finding late instar larvae in July.  Larvae can be found on tall grasses growing in drainages of agricultural areas.  Larvae can also be found on grasses growing in or near mountain canyons.  Look for unique skipper nests.

Caterpillar setups:  Open terrariums; Open Bucket.  Click here to watch a video demonstrating how to place a hatchling first instar Poanes caterpillar on wide bladed grasses.  Mist spray grass blades occasionally to stimulate larval feeding.  Bear in mind that some populations of this skipper will aestivate at last instar in mid-June to early July; pupating in August, and then emerging soon thereafter.

Overwintering Stage:  First instar.  If you obtain eggs from females from Utah or Nevada, larvae will crawl to the tip of the grass blade, create a nest, and overwinter as first instar. 

Overwintering Strategies:  Your Own Backyard

Larva to Pupa:  Last instar larvae from Utah populations will finish feeding and aestivate for 3-5 weeks before pupating; which explains why this skipper flies late in the summer.  If larvae didn't aestivate, they would fly much earlier.

Emergence:  Emergence Container

Number of Broods per Year:  1-2; depending upon location.

Avoiding Diapause Techniques:  

Disease Prevention: Change out host plant and remove frass every four to five days. 

Field Notes:  Finding early instar larval nests is relatively easy in agricultural areas.