This expedition takes a look at the endangered species Oarisma poweshiek, the Poweshiek skipperling. Habitat loss and fragmentation are to blame for its endangered species status. Its habitat consists of tallgrass prairies and prairie fens and much of the original tall grass and native prairie in the United States are gone.
The Poweshiek skipperling is a tiny butterfly with a wingspan of only 1 inch. It is dark brown with orange coloring on the wings and the head. On the underside, its veins are highlighted white, making it appear striped. The historical range for the skipperling ran from Manitoba to Iowa, with populations in Michigan and Wisconsin. According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, surveys in 2014 showed that the range has drastically declined, with only a few sites in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Manitoba.
One of the steps in helping conserve the Poweshiek skipperling is research. There is limited information on the life history and habitat of this endangered species. Some researchers are looking into the causes of the species’ decline that has occurred during the past 10 to 20 years. This is where your help is needed. By transcribing museum data labels, the data can be used to generate habitat suitability models across the historic range to look for potential drivers for the sharp decline of populations. Help conserve the Poweshiek skipperling by transcribing!
For more information, please see this link: https://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/insects/posk/index.html
~ Stacey L. Huber
McGuire Center for Lepidoptera & Biodiversity, Florida Museum of Natural History