Sachem Skipper

Sachem Skipper – Atalopedes campestris

Sachem Skipper

The word sachem, of Algonquin Indian origin, was used among some northeastern tribes to refer to their leaders. In contrast to chiefs, who were chosen for their skill in battle or oratory, sachems held hereditary, civil positions and ruled by consensus. In keeping with its preference for employing Indian words, the infamous New York City political machine Tammany Hall called its local leaders Sachem. “Sachem” has since come to mean a boss, or big cheese.

Males perch on or near the ground during most of the day to wait for receptive females. Females lay single eggs on dry grass blades in the afternoon. Caterpillars feed on leaves and live at the base of grasses in shelters of rolled or tied leaves. Flight: Three broods from May-November in the north; four to five broods from March-December in the Deep South. Wing span: 1 1/4 Р1 5/8 inches (3.2 Р4.2 cm).

Sachem skipper

Caterpillar hosts: Grasses including Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), crabgrass (Digitaria), St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum), and goosegrass (Eleusine). Adult food: Nectar from many flowers including swamp and common milkweeds, buttonbush, dogbane, peppermint, red clover, tickseed sunflower, thistles, New York ironweed, marigold, and asters.

sachem skipper

Habitat: Disturbed, open areas such as roadsides, landfills, pastures, meadows, fencerows, yards, parks, and lawns.

Range: Southern United States from Virginia west to California; south through Mexico and Central America to Brazil. Strays and colonizes north to central North Dakota, southern Michigan, Manitoba, and northern Pennsylvania.

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