Pseudocopaeodes eunus - (Edwards, 1881)
Alkali Skipper
Other English Common Names: alkali skipper
Synonym(s): Stinga eunus
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Pseudocopaeodes eunus (W. H. Edwards, 1881) (TSN 706660)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.115799
Element Code: IILEP63010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Butterflies and Skippers
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Hesperiidae Pseudocopaeodes
Genus Size: A - Monotypic genus
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: 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.
Concept Reference Code: B02OPL01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Pseudocopaeodes eunus
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 16Feb2007
Global Status Last Changed: 16Feb2007
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: With a paucity of good biological data, the rank is based largely on estimated number of occurrences and size of range. Also considered that habitats are localized, populations seem to be small. Threats to habitat are known in Colorado. The species is a regional endemic with a modest primary range in Nevada and nearby California and a few outliers some of which have been named as subspecies. Although there may be a relatively large number of occurrences known, observed numbers are low. Brock and Kaufman (2003) consider this entire species to be rare.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3N4 (30Sep1998)

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 California (SNR), Nevada (SNR)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): PS
Comments on USESA: Subspecies obscurus was emergency listed as endangered by the USFWS (Federal Register 29 November 2001). Final rule was published in Federal Register 7 August 2002. Previously included as a candidate species in the USFWS Notice of Review (Federal Register 01-10-30).

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 250-20,000 square km (about 100-8000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Northeastern California through much of low-lying western Nevada but not reaching near the northern border, and widely scattered occurrences in southeastern California and southern Nevada (Austin and Emmel, 1998; Opler, 1999, Brock and Kaufman, 2003). Below 9000 feet.

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Estimated to be 50-76 known occurrences, based on county records (Stanford and Opler, 1981). Some of these are old an d may not longer existActual estimates not known. This is a coarse estimate based on number of occurrences, distribution, and observations on sparse numbers.

Population Size: 2500 - 10,000 individuals

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown

Overall Threat Impact: High

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Although much habitat appears to be relatively inaccessible, development pressure is present in significant parts of its range, particularly in Ponderosa pine areas. We assume slight declines.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Unknown, but seems to persist with some habitat fragmentation and fire suppression in Colorado; therefore probably not extremely fragile. Note, however, that cause of patchy distribution (recorded by many observers) remains unexplained. It could be due to past habitat disturbances.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Locate several large occurrences.

Protection Needs: Blocks of habitat throughout its range should be provided protection. Corridors may be planned through land use.

Distribution
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Global Range: (250-20,000 square km (about 100-8000 square miles)) Northeastern California through much of low-lying western Nevada but not reaching near the northern border, and widely scattered occurrences in southeastern California and southern Nevada (Austin and Emmel, 1998; Opler, 1999, Brock and Kaufman, 2003). Below 9000 feet.

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 nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CA, NV

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Lassen (06035)
NV Carson City (32510), Churchill (32001), Douglas (32005), Lyon (32019), Mineral (32021), Nye (32023), Washoe (32031)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
16 Truckee (16050102)+, Pyramid-Winnemucca Lakes (16050103)+, Upper Carson (16050201)+, Carson Desert (16050203)+, Walker (16050303)+, Northern Big Smoky Valley (16060004)+
18 Honey-Eagle Lakes (18080003)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A skipper butterfly (Lepidoptera:Hesperidae).
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Playa/salt flat
Habitat Comments: Alkali flats in arid areas (Opler, 1999) and along desert seeps. For subspecies OBSCURUS described as inland stands of the foodplant desert saltgrass (DISTICHLIS SPICATA VAR. SPICATA), occurring in desert seeps or around alkalai flats (USFWS, 1998; Austin and Emmel, 1998). Very local.
Adult Food Habits: Nectarivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Caterpillars eat desert saltgrass (DISTICHLIS SPICATA variety STRICTA)(Scott, 1986; Austin and Emmel, 1998; USFWS, 1998). Subspecies OBSCURUS noted as nectaring on a large crucifer.
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Adults of most subspecies occur from May to September (Opler, 1999) in two or three broods. Subspecies OBSCURUS apparently has only one from late May into July (USFWS, 1998; Austin and Emmel, 1998). The life history and the timing of its stages has not been reported (Emmel and Emmel, 1973) but it seems obvious most of the year would be spent as a larva on the salt grass.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Biological Research Needs: Investigate life history and habitat requirements. Identify densities and population sizes.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Hesperiinae

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A location where the species occurs, or has occurred, where there is potential for persistence or regular recurrence. Minimally a suitable habitat with the larval foodplant where at least one adult has been verified by a photograph or preferably a specimen. Photographs must be diagnostic and will probably need to show both wing surfaces, and there will be circumstances where only a specimen will suffice. Specimens are usually much easier to obtain. Sight records are not an acceptable basis for a new occurrence. Note that these Specs should not be applied to temporary seasonal colonies of common migratory species.
Mapping Guidance: Note the suitable habitat distance will not apply often since most habitats today are no more than a few hundred hectares. However, many were once major landscape features. Suitable habitat distances may be used for barrens, savanna, and prairie species across degraded portions of these habitats that still contain some of the foodplant grasses or nectar flowers. Usually habitat boundaries are fairly obvious based on vegetation (e.g. suitable grassland). With metapopulations map the main breeding sites separately within the overall occurrence. Consult the habitat and food comments fields for species-specific information on what constitutes suitable habitat when mapping occurrences for individual species. Note many, if not most, habitat specialists feed one more than one grass genus at many or all occurrences. Note some species readily and some almost never entere wooded areas, so check habitat fields for the species before mapping.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 4 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: When multiple occupied habitats occur within a large community complex or remnants of one such as patchily within a barren, savanna, or prairie remnant use the suitable habitat distance. When occurrences in a region are all small (under 10 hectares) and are widely scattered and there is some actual evidence of persistent patch vacancy, a separation distance of one kilometer may be used instead of two.
Separation Justification: These are mostly potentially strong fliers and the weaker ones like least skipper are often still very good colonizers probably because they fly persistently. Few species fly slower than 20 km per hour but they do not often seem to sustain flight for very long. A few are migratory and move hundreds of kilometers. Even some of the rarest taxa such as ATRYTONE AROGOS AROGOS and HESPERIA ATTALUS SLOSSONAE (both of which have individual Specs) are documented as moving several kilometers and implied to move much farther. HESPERIA LEONARDUS still shows up as singles in gardens and on roadsides ten kilometers or more from at least one of its three remaining large occurrences in New Jersey. Skippers do find and occupy small habitat patches up to a few kilometers from major ones, but are very often absent from small or recently created habitats five kilometers or more from good habitats or even over shorter distances separated by highly unsuitable habitats. Schweitzer notes adults of several species readily fly over forests which obviously would allow them to move between habitats. Most of them will move at least a few hundred meters to find nectar. While exceptions do occur, in general hesperiine skipper colonies occupy nearly all or none of a given suitable habitat or habitat complex. However very often mere presence of the larval foodplant does not mean suitable habitat.


Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: In most cases the inferred extent is simply all contiguous or nearly contiguous habitat and usually this will be a few to a few hundred hectares which for almost all species is likely to be fully occupied even if at uneven densities. Use this distance only where the habitat is that extensive, but generally if the taxon is present any habitat patches within a kilometer will be occupied unless the species is excluded for example by extremely high fire frequencies or complete burns or lack of nectar. This figure is based in part on observations for ATRYTONE AROGOS AROGOS in New Jersey where it occurs in clusters of patches up to about a kilometer apart with within cluster patch occupancy nearly 100%, except approaching zero where fire intervals are about two years or less. This is one of the most imperiled skippers in North America and it is highly likely most other taxa are at least as effective colonizers. Another consideration in inferring any extent is that often the exact habitat is not clear and since it cannot be defined on the basis of any particular grass species there may be some doubt. One should not infer across any large distance based on one observation but if the habitat extends that far, a kilometer seems safe and most species can cover that distance in a few tens of seconds.
Date: 14Sep2001
Author: Schweitzer, Dale F.
Notes: Thes Specs are applied with reservation to AMBLYSCIRTES species.
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: 16Feb2007
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Pague, C. A., S. E. Simonson, A. R. Ellingson, Schweitzer, D.f.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 21May2001
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): D.F.SCHWEITZER AND P.A. OPLER

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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  • Austin, G.T. and J.F. Emmel. 1998. New subspecies of butterflies (Lepidoptera) from Nevada and California. Pages 501-522 in: Emmel, T.C., editor. 1998. Systematics of western North American butterflies. Mariposa Press, Gainesville, Florida, 878 pages.

  • Emmel, T.C. and J.F. Emmel. 1973. The Butterflies of Southern California. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Science Series 26, 148 pages.

  • Emmel, Thomas C., editor. 1998. Systematics of western North American butterflies. Mariposa Press, Gainesville, Florida. 878 pp.

  • Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown (eds). 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountains. University of Oklahoma Press. Norman. 442 pp.

  • MacNeill, C.D. 1975. Superfamily Hesperioidea. Pages 411-578 in: W.H. Howe, editor. The Butterflies of North America. Doubleday and Co., Garden City, New York.

  • Miller, L. D. and F. M. Brown. 1981. A Catalogue/Checklist of the Butterflies of America North of Mexico. The Lepidopterists' Society Memoir No. 2, Sarasota, Florida. 280 pp.

  • Opler, P. A., and A. B. Wright. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Second edition. Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 540 pp.

  • 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.

  • Opler, Paul A., Harry Pavulaan, and Ray E. Stanford. 2000. August 17-last update. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. Online. Available: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepi d/bflyusa/bflyusa.htm.

  • 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.

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

  • Stanford, Ray E. and Paul A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western U.S.A. butterflies, including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Self-published, Denver, CO. 265 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1998. Category and Listing Priority Forms.

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