North American Range
Usually restricted to more northern climates compared to the other meadow skippers, males have a long stigma running across the forewing. This dark, notched line, partly covered in black scales emits pheromones to attract females during courtship. Males perch in low grassy areas, streambeds, or swales during most of the day. Courtship occurs in mid to late afternoon. Females deposit eggs singly on or near the host plant. They often nectar with other meadow skippers. Caterpillars feed on leaves and live in shelters of tied leaves. Fourth instar larva overwinter.
Large for a grass skipper. Upperside is dark brown with reddish to yellowish orange markings. Forewing of female has a broad black patch at the base; male forewing has a long, slightly curved stigma, which may be connected to the dash near the apex (creating a “long dash”). Underside of hindwing is orange-brown with a curved band of equal-sized yellow spots.
The Long Dash had a much shorter flight period than some of the other meadow skippers. It had one brood and flies from the end of May until early August. Highest counts occurred near the end of June. Extreme dates: 27 May 2004 in Sandgate (R. Stewart) and 18 September 2003 in Colchester (B. Pfeiffer).
Distribution and Habitat
The Long Dash was found throughout Vermont. Like most meadow skippers, it utilizes many different habitats and can be found in nearly any open, wet, grassy area. Though other grasses may be used, the only documented host plant are blue grasses (Poa). As with others of their genus, the adult Long Dash will nectar on just about any flowering plant in their habitat including, milkweeds (Asclepias), Cow Vetch (Vicia cracca) and Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare).