Pyrgus wyandot
Grizzled skipper

Key Characteristics

Upper surfaces are grayish black with white spots; fringes are checkered. Undersurfaces are similarly marked but with more and larger spots and white lines. This species lacks a white spot just below and inward of the forewing cell-end bar. The caterpillar is light green with a reddish cast and covered with fine, short, hairs. The head is blackish brown.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: S1S2
  • Global Rank: G1G2Q


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Presque Isle31997
Distribution map for Pyrgus wyandot

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Large open areas in oak-pine barrens, disturbed areas and along trails. Adults have been observed nectaring on bearberry, blueberry, dandelion, wild strawberry, and birdfoot violet. Eggs are laid on wild strawberry.

Specific Habitat Needs

Host plant needed in Oak-pine barrens, Pine barrens, Alvar

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.


Adequate suitable habitat at occupied sites need to be maintained including sufficient densities of the species' host plant. Maintenance and long-term preservation of the habitats with which this species is associated depends on the promotion of fire (or an equivalent anthropogenic disturbance) as the prime ecological process driving the persistence and establishment of these natural communities. Prescribed burning can be used as a management tool to try to re-establish or replicate natural fire regimes in barrens and prairie systems. In areas where this species or other rare invertebrates occur or are of management concern, burning strategies should allow for ample refugia (e.g., only burning part of the available habitat at a time, burn frequency and intensity, type of fire, etc.) to minimize incidental take or other potential adverse impacts and facilitate effective post-burn survival and/or recolonization . Prior to burning, the locations and extent of habitat use of populations of this species and other rare invertebrates at the site should be determined. Burn management units should be established with special attention to microgeographic variation in the distribution of rare species and their host plants. Unburned patches should be left unburned to provide refugia . Mowing, brush cutting and/or other mechanical manipulations can be used in conjunction with or in place of prescribed burning as management tools for maintaining the habitats used by this species . These activities should be conducted in late fall or winter, if possible, to minimize adverse impacts to rare invertebrates.

Active Period

Flight from first week of May to second week of June

Survey Methods

The Grizzled skipper has one generation per year and overwinters as a pupa in a leaf nest on its host plants. Larvae are present from June to August. In Michigan, adults typically have been observed in May until early June. Adults fly close to the ground so they can be difficult to see. The best way to survey for this species is by conducting visual meander surveys which consists of checking for this species near larval food plants, on adult nectar sources, and in mud puddles.

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Aug 16, 2018]

More Information

See MNFI Species Abstract


Survey References

Technical References

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