Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola) (W.H. Edwards, 1863)

Diagnosis: A large, dark brown skipper with elongated pointed forewings, (wingspan: 29 to 33 mm). There are a series of white patches on the forewing upperside, the largest in a distinct V-shape. The hindwing is unmarked above and beneath, and the female has a purple iridescence on the hindwing underside.

Range: This is a species of the southeastern U.S., straying north occasionally as far as Ohio and Pennsylvania, and rarely into southern Ontario.

Similar Species: None in Canada.

Early Stages: The larva is grey green, with the first two segments blue green; it has a dark dorsal line and a greenish-white stripe along each side; the head is light green (Opler and Malikul, 1992). Foodplants are grasses.

Abundance: In the U.S. it is variable in numbers, building up through the summer; in Canada it is avery rare straggler from the south.

Flight Season: Panoquina ocola flies all year in Florida and Texas and migrates north each year, occasionally reaching New York and Ohio by September or October.

Habits: Adults prefer damp areas in the south, but can be found in any flowery area during migrations. The first Canadian records came at the end of a very hot, dry summer that saw many rare migrants in unprecedented numbers; oddly, none was recorded from Ohio, to the south of Lake Erie, in 1991.

Remarks: The first two Canadian records were from Hamilton, Ontario (Bob Curry, 8 September 1991), and Point Pelee, Ontario (four specimens, 21 September 1991, Sid Daniels, Alan Wormington, and Bob Curry) (Curry, 1992). The Ocola Skipper was recorded again at Point Pelee on four occasions between 19 September and 13 October 1995 (Alan Wormington, Tim Sabo).

© 2002. This material is reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.