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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Least Skipper: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Amazing and informative least skipper facts for all.

The least skipper, Ancyloxypha numitor is the species of butterflies, that belongs to the order Lepidoptera and family Hesperiidae. It is endemic to North America, although it also lives in Arizona and various states of Canada. Various habitats of the Ancyloxypha skipper include moist areas with tall grasses near swamp verbena, streams, marshes, ditches, and meadows. The diet includes nectar of small flowers. However, the caterpillar feeds on the leaves of the host plant. Copulation season is between May and October. Males fly through the long grasses to find females. After mating, the female lays eggs on different host plants. Generally, the least skipper has two to four broods each year. The flight of these insects is weak.

It is easy to get confused between the grass skipper and the European skipper because they both have orange and black antennae, with almost the same body coloration. They have orange hindwings with black and orange margins on their forewing. Also, both of them fly low to the ground. However, the Ancyloxypha numitor has a much broader black margin on the top and bottom of each wing, whereas the European skipper possesses light wings without eminent veins. They prefer habitat in areas with tall grass, gardens, ditches, swampy meadows, and near streams. They are highly sensitive and you must never touch this moth but rather observe them from far because just one touch can fade their color through their thin scales and it can also hurt them physically.

Moths are similar to butterflies and many people find them quite interesting. To know more about them, you can also check out the orange sulfur butterfly and morpho butterfly.

Least Skipper Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a least skipper?

The least skipper is a type of butterfly species.

What class of animal does the least skipper belong to?

This butterfly species belongs to the Insecta class of animal.

How many least skippers are there in the world?

The total number of least skippers present in the world has been unidentified and is unknown.

Where does a least skipper live?

The least skipper habitat includes the United States, Canada, and some parts of Arizona. Their distribution has been reported in various counties from the northern regions to the southern parts of the United States. Some of them include Alabama, New Mexico, Maine, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia, and New Jersey. In Canada, it is found in states like Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Quebec.

What is a least skipper's habitat?

The least skipper, Ancyloxypha numitor, favors moist habitats or sightings consisting of tall grasses with ditches, marshes, gardens, parks, lakes, ponds, edges of streams, and boggy meadows. Its flight is weak and often flies low on top of grasses, generally 9.8-12 in (25-30.4 cm) from the ground. When the least skipper roosts, it keeps its wings folded. It is hardly seen far from water sources, even when drinking nectar from flowers. They live on tree or flower leaves and are often seen flying across tall grasses.

Who do least skippers live with?

The least skipper, Ancyloxypha numitor, species are solitary in nature and usually live alone or in pairs during the breeding season. They are fairly seen in abundance.

How long does the least skipper live?

Moths have a very short lifespan and the lifespan of the brown least skipper butterfly species is around a month in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season is from mid-May to October. Most grass skippers roost on plants and wait for their companion, while the male adults fly through the grasses to find females. Sometimes, females of the Ancyloxypha numitor species reject the male by descending their wings to a position below their body. After copulation, females lay their pale yellow eggs on the host plants, particularly grasses. After the eggs hatch, the least skipper caterpillar builds a nest by curling up multiple leaves through their silk, and they feed on the host plant. The least skipper caterpillars are green like grass with four white pairs of wax glands on the ventral part of the abdomen. The head color of the least skipper caterpillar ranges between brown and tan. They also possess a collar with black and white stripes. The least skipper, Ancyloxypha numitor, spends winter as a full-grown larva. Every pair of these skippers has two to four broods per year.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the least skipper is Least Concern since they have a stable population. They are abundantly present in various states of America and Canada.

Least Skipper Fun Facts

What do least skippers look like?

The adults are distinctive with a slender body, round wings, and checkered antennae. They have greenish head coloration. Males do not have stigmata like females. In both genders, the upper sides of the forewings are black with an orange patch. However, they have orange with a wide black margin or border on their hindwing. The underside of the wings is also orange but the discal region of the hindwings is darker with white veins. The wingspan of the Ancyloxypha numitor ranges between 0.6-1.02 in (17-26 mm). Their forewing and hindwings are quite strong and help them to fly among areas with abundant nectar and grass. They look visible, all bright yellow from the upper side of the wings. The caterpillars of least skipper species are generally green like leaves, enveloped with small, pale hairs. It has a dark brown head with pale markings.

The least skipper in North America has a high brown color distribution with orange forewings and lighten veins.

How cute are they?

The least skipper, Ancyloxypha numitor, is an adorable species of butterflies with a combination of orange, white, and black colors.

How do they communicate?

Like other butterfly species, the Ancyloxypha numitor communicates with each other through sight and scent.

How big is a least skipper?

The least skipper, Ancyloxypha numitor, is 0.5-1.02 in (1.4-2.6 cm) long, which is seven times smaller than a ghost moth.

How fast can a least skipper fly?

Unlike other grass skippers, the least skipper is not an excellent flyer. It flutters about as if it is struggling to stay aloft. Their habitat, however, relieves them of the need to excel at flying in straight lines.

How much does a least skipper weigh?

The weight of the least skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor) is unknown as they are quite small and almost weightless.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female least skipper butterflies do not have their own specific names, separately.

What would you call a baby least skipper?

There are two names for baby least skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor), including larva and caterpillar.

What do they eat?

The adult tiny skipper butterflies drink nectar from various diminutive flowers on plants that raise low to the earth's surface. Some of the food plants include milkweed, thistle, white clover, chicory, swamp verbena, and wood sorrel. They even feed on flower nectar. The larvae of least skipper species mainly feed on bluegrass, marsh millet, cultivated rice (Oryza sativa), and rice cutgrass. Also, it is important to know what eats least skipper. The least skipper, Ancyloxypha numitor, has been eaten mostly by birds.

Are they poisonous?

No, the Ancyloxypha numitor is a non-poisonous species of butterflies because it lacks poison-producing glands. But one must not touch their eyes after touching a moth since their small, tiny hairy scales can cause an itch.

Would they make a good pet?

Keeping the least skipper butterflies as pets has many advantages, but it is very rare and uncommon to have them as pets since they have a very short lifespan and require natural habitat for their transformation process. They are beautiful, non-dangerous insects that help in pollination. Some scientists say watching these insects fly improves the mental health of human beings.

Did you know...

The least skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor) is also known as the least skipperlings.

The least skipper takes rest with the help of forewings by opening them in a V shape, while hindwings draw out horizontally to the side.

Records made by Massachusetts show that this moth species starts its flight season earlier and ends later than it did, a century ago.

How did least skippers get their names?

The least in their name comes from the fact that they have a wingspan of only around one inch. However, they have got an enthusiastic name that derives from the Greek ankylos, meaning 'hooked' or 'curved', and xiphos, meaning 'sword'. The numitor in the scientific name borrows from the name of the King of Alba.

What is the difference between a least skipper butterfly and a monarch butterfly?

Monarch butterflies are one of the most beautiful and popular insects in the world. Its pattern and patches on wings are different from the least skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor). Monarch species are known for white spots all over them, whereas the least skipper lacks them. Also, the caterpillar of the least skipper is green, the monarch caterpillar goes through five molting stages with different colors occurring on the skin at each stage.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including purple emperor butterfly facts and  Viceroy butterfly facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable least skipper coloring pages.

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