Butterflies of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance

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Once on a species account page, clicking on the "View PDF" link will show the flight data for that species, for each of the three regions of the state.
Other information, such as high counts and earliest/latest dates, can also been seen on the PDF page.

Related Species in HESPERIIDAE:
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Common NameAaron's Skipper by Jeff Pippen => Dare Co., NC 16 Sep 2006
[View PDF]
Click to enlarge
[Google Images]     BoA [Images ]
Scientific NamePoanes aaroni
Link to BAMONA species account.
MapClick on a county for list of all database records for the species in that county.
DistributionDISTRIBUTION: So far as known, found only along the northern coast, from Currituck County south to the mainland of Hyde County. The species ranges along and near the coast as far north as NJ and south to FL. The northern subspecies -- P. a. aaroni -- supposedly ranges south to Hyde County, and a different subspecies -- P. a. minimus -- is found just in southern SC, according to the Butterflies of America website. However, that website shows NC photos (Dare County) as being the subspecies minimus, contra the range listing! And, the SC map shows a record(s) for Horry County, along the northern coast. Thus, the exact subspecies to which the NC and Horry County, SC, population(s) belong is muddled. Nonetheless, the gap along the southern NC coast, between Hyde County and Horry County, appears to be real; many people have searched coastal marshes from Carteret County into Brunswick County without finding the species (of any subspecies).
AbundanceABUNDANCE: Rare, along the northern portion of the coast, but uncommon to locally fairly common in southern mainland Dare County near Pamlico Sound. Should occur in (or near) other brackish marshes along the northern coast. Abundance there is uncertain at the present time, but it seems to be absent along the southern coast.
FlightFLIGHT PERIOD: Two broods; mid-May to mid-June (at a minimum), and early September (and likely in late August) to early October. More data are needed to clarify the flight periods, but there is a large gap between broods. The sole 2021 record (with a photo) was a badly-needed first brood one, only our fifth record for this brood.
HabitatHABITAT: In NC, the primary habitat is brackish marshes, but the species moves well away from marshes to find suitable nectar sources. In fact, one was photographed in 2019 in the central part of Dare County, seemingly several miles from suitable tidal marsh breeding habitat. Thus, they can be seen in fields, wood margins, and marsh edges, as long as these habitats are relatively close (mainly within a mile) of tidal marshes.
See also Habitat Account for Salt and Brackish Marshes
PlantsFOOD AND NECTAR PLANTS: Seashore Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) is the most likely foodplant in NC, though this is speculative, based on foodplants elsewhere. The skipper nectars on many flowers in the marshes and adjacent fields. I have seen them nectaring on Yellow Thistle (Cirsium horridulum) in May; and on Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum), camphorweed (Pluchea sp.), and various goldenrods (Solidago spp.) in September-October.
CommentsCOMMENTS: This species has been found to be locally numerous in some marshes north of NC. However, it is seemingly very local or scarce south of VA. I suspect it is truly absent south of Dare and adjacent Hyde counties, for marshes in Carteret County and in the Wilmington area have been worked reasonably well. Sadly, in recent years few observers have been looking for butterflies in our coastal marshes, and working out the details of the range and flight period of this and several other species (such as the Rare Skipper) will probably be years in coming. Starting with the 27th Approximation, the State Rank is being moved to a more realistic S1 (where it should have been all along), as there are barely 3-5 known breeding sites for it in the state.
State RankS1
State StatusSR
Global RankG4
Federal Status
Other Name

Links to other butterfly galleries: [Cook] [Lynch] [Pippen] [Pugh]
Photo by: Richard Stickney
Comment: July 2018. Cumberland Co., NJ; male
Aaron's Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Jan Hansen
Comment: September 6, 2020. Delaware -- Bombay Hook refuge
Aaron's Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Salman Abdulali
Comment: Male, Dare County, 2012-Sep-08, same individual as next.
Aaron's Skipper - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Salman Abdulali
Comment: Male, Dare County, 2012-Sep-08
Aaron's Skipper - Click to enlarge