Hesperia leonardus montana - (Skinner, 1911)
Pawnee Montane Skipper
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Hesperia leonardus montana (Skinner, 1911) (TSN 707301)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.121210
Element Code: IILEP65061
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Butterflies and Skippers
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Hesperiidae Hesperia
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Pelham, J. P. 2008. A catalogue of the butterflies of the United States and Canada with a complete bibliography of the descriptive and systematic literature. The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera. Volume 40. 658 pp. Revised 14 February, 2012.
Concept Reference Code: B08PEL01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Hesperia leonardus montana
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5T1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 17Mar2009
Global Status Last Changed: 01Sep1998
Rounded Global Status: T1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Very limited range in a single drainage system. Subspecies consists of only a single well dispersed metapopulation with on the order of 100,000 adults in the years for which there are data. Probably not immediately threatend but T1 is usually applied when there is only one occurrence globally. Also there has been little new information on the status of the taxon since the 1998 recovery plan.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1 (01Sep1998)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Colorado (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LT: Listed threatened (25Sep1987)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R6 - Rocky Mountain
IUCN Red List Category: NE - Not evaluated

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: <100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Currently known to exist only in an area roughly 23 miles (37 km) long and 5 miles (8 km) wide in the South Platte River drainage of Colorado`s Front Range.

Area of Occupancy: 3-2,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: One large occurrence only, about 38 square miles in extent, with much interchange of individuals among the patches.

Population Size: 10,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: According to a summary by the Xerces Society red list species profile estimates in 1997 and 1998 were for around 100,000 adults, and estimates in 1985-1987 suggested "up to" 166,000 adults. The normal range of fluctuation is not known, but virtually all insect populations fluctuate to some degree and it seems very likely this subspecies would fall below 100,000 in some years.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very few (1-3)

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Federal listing as Threatened confers substantial protection on federal lands, but not necessarily on private lands. Threats need to be evaluated after USFWS completes the 5-year review initiated in late 2008. The main threat seems to be climatic or other environmental changes that could alter the habitat. This may include altered fire regimes or regional drying. Both widespread hot fires (e.g. from excessive fuel load) and lack of fire could be threats. This skipper may become management dependent depending on whether or not fire is a critical factor in maintaining its habitat. On a local scale accelerated soil erosion & plant loss from off-road vehicle (ORV) use is an issue. More widely, potential resurrection of the dam proposal that was denied in 1990 could threaten a large part of the habitat. The population is too large to be at much risk from normal random events but a large-scale drying of the climate would probably eliminate it gradually.

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: See population. It is unknown whether the lower numbers reported in the mid 1990s compared to ten years earlier actually reflect a real change or merely modest fluctuations or even differences in methodology. The area of occupancy probably has not changed much and the population size, might or might not have declined. Information is more than 10 years old.

Long-term Trend: Unknown

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Not intrinsically vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Protection Needs: Should be assessed following 5-year review USFWS started in 2008.

Distribution
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Global Range: (<100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)) Currently known to exist only in an area roughly 23 miles (37 km) long and 5 miles (8 km) wide in the South Platte River drainage of Colorado`s Front Range.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single state or province

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CO

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CO Douglas (08035), Jefferson (08059), Park (08093), Teller (08119)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Upper South Platte (10190002)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Butterfly, Hesperiidae.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Savanna, Woodland - Conifer
Habitat Comments: Occurs in very open ponderosa pine woodland on outcrops of Pikes Peak granites where soils are thin and unstable and with sparse vegetation cover, usually less than 30% ground cover. Critical features of the habitat include open aspect, presence of the larval foodplant which is the grass Bouteloua graclis (others may well be used sometimes) and adequate nectar sources which are mainly Liatris punctata.
Adult Food Habits: Nectarivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Like other subspecies of this species adults strongly prefer to nectar from Liatris and thistles. Larvae may be monophagous on Bouteloua gracilis, although the species as a whole uses several grass genera.
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Adults fly in late summer, sometimes as early as late July, into mid September or later. Hibernation is as young (?first instar) larvae, almost certainly among dry grass blades near the base of the plant. Possibly also aestivates briefly as a mature larva.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: The only issues involve habitat management, including fires, and potentially climate change. The occurrence is large enough that prescribed burning could be safely conducted, although survival of immatures in the area burned would be low. Thinning of the understory might not necessarily be harmful and might be beneficial, especially if this increased nectar supply. It is possible, but not certain, that this subspecies needs a sparsely wooded, rather thatn Prairie-like, habitat. This should be considered in any timber harvesting plans. Besides the Bouteloua grasses upon which the larvae feed, nectar, apparently mostly Liatris, is another critical habitat feature. Invasive plants could be an issue, including exotic cool season grasses that alter the habitat by reducing bare soil or rock. It is very likely that the open, sparsely vegetated aspect of the habitat is important and it is not known how adaptable to population would be to changes in its structure. Climate change is likely cause this subspecies to become more restricted to higher parts of the habitat, at least if the abundance or vigor of the larval foodplant or nectar plant is affected. While these populations occur at considerably higher elevations, they are essentially at the southwestern edge of the range for the entire species which is declining rapidly in some southern parts of the range eastward. It is unclear though what, if anything, could be done to mitigate impacts of climate change on this species.
Biological Research Needs: Better understanding of precise optimum breeding habitat would be helpful.
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 22Feb2009
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Schweitzer, D.F.
Management Information Edition Date: 01Feb2013
Management Information Edition Author: Schweitzer, D.F.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 11May1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): D.F. SCHWEITZER

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • ENSR International. 2003. Pawnee montane skipper monitoring post-fire habitat assessment survey - September 2003. Final Report to U.S. Forest Service South Platte Ranger District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Denver Water. ENSR Corporation, Fort Collins, Colorado. Document Number 09090-045-200.

  • ERT 1988. Pawnee Montane Skipper 1987 Field Studies. Prepared for the Denver Water Department by ERT, Inc. Fort Collins, Colorado.

  • ERT, A Resource Engineering Company 1987. Pawnee Montane Skipper Habitat Management Plan (April 1987 Draft). Prepared for the Denver Water Department.

  • ERT, Environmental Research and Technology, A Resource Engineering Company, and PEST, Professional Entomological Services Technology, INC. 1986. Status Report on the Pawnee Montane Skipper (Hesperia leonardus montana Skinner). February 1986.

  • ERT. 1986. 1986 Pawnee Montane Skipper Field Studies. Prepared for Denver Water Department by ERT, A Resource Engineering Company, Fort Collins, Colorado.

  • Ferris, Clifford and F. M. Brown. 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 442 pp.

  • Keenan, L. C. 1985. Work Plan: Off-site environs survey for the Pawnee Montane Skipper (Hesperia leonardus montana). Prepared for Denver Board of Water Commissioners by Professional Entomological Services Technology, Inc., Arvada, Colorado.

  • Myers, D. 1985. Dams and butterflies: can they mingle? Rocky Mountain News, Sunday Magazine, July 14 1985. pp. 18-27.

  • Myers, D. 1985. Ice age relic survives another test; officials aflutter. Rocky Mountain News, Lifestyles Section September 11, 1985. p. 42.

  • NatureServe Explorer:an online encyclopedia of life [web application]. 2001. Version 1.6. Arlington, Virginia, USA:NatureServe. Available: http://www.natureserve.org/explorer. (Accessed Jan. 8, 2002.)

  • Opler, P. A., and A. D. Warren. 2002. Butterflies of North America. 2. Scientific Names List for Butterfly Species of North America, north of Mexico. C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 79 pp.

  • Pelham, J. P. 2008. A catalogue of the butterflies of the United States and Canada with a complete bibliography of the descriptive and systematic literature. The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera. Volume 40. 658 pp. Revised 14 February, 2012.

  • Pyle, Robert Michael. 1981. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York. 915 pp.

  • Ryke, N., D. Winters, L. McMartin and S. Vest. 1994. Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Species of the Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Comanche and Cimarron National Grasslands. May 25, 1994.

  • Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America: A Natural History and Field Guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford CA. 583 pp.

  • Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America: A Natural History and Field Guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.

  • Scott, James A. 1981. Geographic variation and ecology of Hesperia leonardus (Hesperiidae). Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 20(1):18-35.

  • Shepherd, M. D., D. M. Vaughan, and S. H. Black (Eds). 2005. Red List of Pollinator Insects of North America. CD-ROM Version 1 (May 2005). Portland, OR: The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. online. available: www.xerces.org

  • Sovell, J. and B. Drummond. 2006. DRAFT Pawnee Montane Skipper Post-fire Habitat Assessment Survey - September 2005. Colorado Natural Heritage Program report prepared for U.S. Forest Service South Platte Ranger District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Denver Water.

  • Sovell, J.R. 2007. Pawnee Montane Skipper Post-fire Habitat Assessment Survey - September 2006. Colorado Natural Heritage Program report prepared for U.S. Forest Service South Platte Ranger District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Denver Water.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1987. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; final rule to determine Pawnee montane skipper (Hesperia leonardus montana) to be threatened species. Fed. Reg., Dept. of the Interior. 52(186):36176-3618

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1998. Pawnee montane skipper butterfly (Hesperia leonardus montana) recovery plan. Denver, Colorado. 16 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1994. Pawnee Montane Skipper Butterfly Recovery Plan (September 30, 1994 draft). Denver, Colorado. 23pp.

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