Poanes zabulon

Photo Life History:

Habitat:  Urban-Suburban; Forest Edges; Gas or Powerline Right of Ways; Valley Lakes & Rivers

Host Plants:  Phalaris arundinacea

Suitable Lab Host Plants: Sorghum halepense; Bromus inermus (Most wide-bladed weedy grasses work fine to feed this larva in the lab.)  

Caring for Live Female Butterflies:  Nectaring techniques

Methods of Female Oviposition:  Portable Cages; Open Screen Cages.  (Getting eggs out of females has proven to be the most effective way of rearing this skipper.)

How to Find Eggs:  Look on grass blades.  Finding eggs can be difficult if host grasses are too common.

How to Hatch Eggs:  Consolidate eggs into one container; Mist spray ova occasionally.  Sometimes they do not hatch if they are not exposed to humidity similar to their habitat.

How to Find Caterpillars in the Field: 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.

Overwintering Stage:  Unknown.  Poanes zabulon have five instars whereas Poanes hobomok and Poanes taxiles have six instars.

Overwintering Strategies: 

Larva to Pupa:  

Emergence:  Emergence Container

Number of Broods per Year:  2 to 3; depending upon location.

Avoiding Diapause Techniques:  Provide larvae healthy host plant.  I've never had a larva reared from the lab diapause under any lab conditions. 

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

Field Notes:  Finding late instar larval nests on tall grasses has been somewhat challenging in Northern Virginia.  Getting eggs out of females has always been relatively easy.  Eggs seem to need some humidity to hatch.  The same also applies to eggs of Pompeius verna.