E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Polites draco Scudder, 1872
Draco Skipper
Family: Hesperiidae (Skippers)
Species account authors: Crispin Guppy and Jon Shepard.
Extracted from Butterflies of British Columbia
The Families of Lepidoptera of BC
Introduction to the Butterflies of BC

© Norbert Kondla  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #74030)

Click on map to view a larger version of this map.
Distribution of Polites draco in British Columbia.
(Click on the map to view a larger version.)
Details about map content are available here.

Species Information


The median row of light spots on the ventral hindwing is arranged in an irregular line, as in the Sandhill Skipper. The Draco Skipper, however, lacks the transverse lines overlying this median row that are present on the wings of the Sandhill Skipper. Also, the ranges of the Draco Skipper and the Sandhill Skipper do not come close to overlapping in BC.

Immature Stages



None. The type locality of the species has been restricted to Twin Lakes, Lake Co., CO (Brown and Miller 1980).

Genus Description

The name Polites is from Polites, a son of Priam of Troy and Hecuba. Polites was a swift runner, and perhaps Scudder meant that members of the genus were swift fliers.

The genus Polites is Nearctic, occurring from northern Mexico to southern Canada. The 12 species (MacNeill 1993) are well represented in British Columbia, where six species occur. A seventh species, Polites mardon (W.H. Edwards, 1881), occurs just south, in the Puget Trough of Washington, and is one of the few possible species that did not colonize Vancouver Island.


The Draco Skipper flies from late June to early July in northeastern BC. The foodplant is unknown.


In BC, the Draco Skipper is known only from north of Atlin and the Stikine River. There are several populations just north of BC, near Whitehorse, YT. The Draco Skipper is found in the dry grassland habitat in the rain shadow of the St. Elias Mountains and Coast Ranges.



The Draco Skipper is found in a series of disjunct populations from north of Whitehorse to the Stikine River of BC and then from Hinton, AB, south to AZ and NM in the Rocky Mountains. In BC it is found in dry pine areas with extensive grass, flying with Parnassius smintheus yukonensis.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS3BlueNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2019. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2020-07-13 9:34:03 PM]
Disclaimer: The information contained in an E-Fauna BC atlas pages is derived from expert sources as cited (with permission) in each section. This information is scientifically based.  E-Fauna BC also acts as a portal to other sites via deep links.  As always, users should refer to the original sources for complete information.  E-Fauna BC is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of the original information.

© E-Fauna BC: An initiative of the Spatial Data Lab, Department of Geography, UBC