Aggregated occurrence records of the federally endangered Poweshiek skipperling (Oarisma poweshiek)

Latest version published by Central Michigan University Herbarium on Oct 2, 2018 Central Michigan University Herbarium
Publication date:
2 October 2018
CC0 1.0

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We created a dataset to document all known occurrence data for the Federally Endangered Poweshiek skipperling butterfly [Oarisma poweshiek (Parker, 1870; Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae)]. The Poweshiek skipperling was a historically common species in prairie systems across the upper Midwest, United States, and Manitoba, Canada. Rapid declines have reduced the number of verified extant sites to six. Aggregating and curating Poweshiek skipperling occurrence records documents and preserves all known distributional data, which can be used to address questions related to Poweshiek skipperling conservation, ecology, and biogeography.

Over 3500 occurrence records were aggregated over a temporal coverage of 1872 to present. Occurrence records were obtained from over 35 data providers in the conservation and natural history collection community using both “HumanObservation” and “PreservedSpecimen” as an acceptable basisOfRecord. Data were obtained in different formats and with differing degrees of quality control. During the data aggregation and cleaning process, we transcribed specimen label data, georeferenced occurrences, adopted a controlled vocabulary, removed duplicates, and standardized formatting. We examined the dataset for inconsistencies with known Poweshiek skipperling biogeography and phenology, and we verified or removed inconsistencies by working with the original data providers. In total, 12 occurrence records were removed because we identified them to be the western congener Oarisma garita (Reakirt, 1866). This resulting dataset enhances the permanency of Poweshiek skipperling occurrence data in a standardized format.

Data Records

The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 3,344 records.

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.

How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Belitz MW, Hendrick LK, Monfils MJ, Cuthrell DL, Marshall CJ, Kawahara AY, Cobb NS, Zaspel JM, Horton A, Huber SL, Warren AD, Forthaus GA, Monfils AK (2018) Aggregated occurrence records of the federally endangered Poweshiek skipperling (Oarisma poweshiek). Dataset.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is Central Michigan University Herbarium. To the extent possible under law, the publisher has waived all rights to these data and has dedicated them to the Public Domain (CC0 1.0). Users may copy, modify, distribute and use the work, including for commercial purposes, without restriction.

GBIF Registration

This resource has not been registered with GBIF


Butterfly Conservation; Distribution; Endangered Species; Hesperiidae; Location; Occurrence; Oarisma poweshiek


Michael Belitz
  • Metadata Provider
  • Originator
Research Assistant
Central Michigan University
48859 Mount Pleasant
Lillian Hendrick
  • Originator
Central Michigan University
Biosciences 2401
48859 Mount Pleasant
Michael Monfils
  • Originator
Wildlife Ecologist
Michigan Natural Features Inventory
4885 Lansing
David Cuthrell
  • Originator
Conservation Scientist
Michigan Natural Features Inventory
Christopher Marshall
  • Originator
Oregon State University
Akito Kawahara
  • Originator
Associate Professor
Florida Museum of Natural History
Neil Cobb
  • Originator
Research Professor
Northern Arizona University
Jennifer Zaspel
  • Originator
Research Curator and Head of Zoology
Milwaukee Public Museum
Andrew Horton
  • Originator
Conservation Planning Assistance
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Stacey Huber
  • Originator
Research Associate
Florida Museum of Natural History
Andrew Warren
  • Originator
Senior Collections Manager
Florida Museum of Natural History
Grace Forthaus
  • Originator
Central Michigan University
Anna Monfils
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
Central Michigan University

Geographic Coverage

The geographic range of the dataset covers nine U.S. states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio) and one Canadian province (Manitoba).

Bounding Coordinates South West [38.669, -98.253], North East [49.133, -83.468]

Taxonomic Coverage

This dataset is devoted to one species of Lepidoptera in the family Hesperiidae. The species is Oarisma poweshiek (Parker, 1870).

Species Oarisma poweshiek (Poweshiek skipperling)

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 1872-01-01 / 2017-01-01

Sampling Methods

Poweshiek skipperling occurrence records were aggregated from the following sources: federal agencies (e.g., U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service), natural heritage member programs (e.g., Michigan Natural Features Inventory), state conservation agencies (e.g., Minnesota DNR, South Dakota DGFP), citizen scientists (e.g., iNaturalist, The Lepidopterists’ Society), and natural history collections. Both “HumanObservation” and “PreservedSpecimen” were included as occurrence records. Occurrence records were also gathered from the following data aggregators: Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and Lepidoptera of North America Network (LepNet). LepNet is a thematic collection network (TCN), whose data included human observations from citizen scientists (via iNaturalist and The Lepidopterist Society) and preserved specimens from natural history collections (Seltmann et al. 2017). Many records from LepNet were uploaded in response to requests that we sent to the collections community (Shepard and Marshall 2017). Prior to our study there were seven Poweshiek skipperling records in the LepNet repository. As of May 2018, there were 574 records. LepNet also assisted in procuring data from regional collections whose data were not available through publicly accessible repositories. Data from regional collections and smaller projects data can enhance scientific inquiry and statistical modeling (Glon et al. 2017, Heidorn 2008). We accessed these data sources by transcribing and standardizing specimen metadata that we gathered by transcribing metadata at the physical collection, or by curating metadata that was sent in a variety of spreadsheet, text files, and word document formats. A part of our data aggregation effort mobilized citizen scientists through a Notes from Nature expedition, where citizen scientists transcribed specimen label data (Hill et al. 2012). Aggregated data include research vouchers, opportunistic observations and collections, observations collected for population monitoring (Selby 2005, Swengel et al. 2010), and observations collected using standardized research methodologies (Pogue et al. 2016).

Study Extent The geographic range of the dataset covers nine U.S. states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio) and one Canadian province (Manitoba).
Quality Control In the process of vetting the dataset we identified records that appeared to be outside the range of the Poweshiek Skipperling. Images of specimens georeferenced outside the previously known range of the Poweshiek skipperling were obtained and checked by DL Cuthrell, who has worked with this species for over 20 years, to ensure the correct identification of the specimen. Specimens collected in Montana and Colorado were misidentified as O. poweshiek and instead were O. garita. However, five specimens collected from Nebraska and one collected in Ohio were confirmed as O. poweshiek, expanding the known states that once had Poweshiek skipperling. Using our collective knowledge of historic Poweshiek skipperling sites and our aggregated dataset, we were able to check and refine georeferenced occurrence records. Geographic coordinates of occurrence records that were incorrectly georeferenced were changed to represent coordinates consistent with the locality listed in the occurrence metadata. We mask the locality information of the six extant Poweshiek skipperling sites to protect the Federally Endangered species and its vulnerable prairie habitat. scientificName: The Poweshiek skipperling was originally described as Hesperia powesheik by Parker (1870) and numerous occurrence records were listed as Oarisma powesheik. The butterfly's type series includes 33 specimens collected in Poweshiek County, Iowa. We aggregated occurrence records listed as O. poweshiek, O. powesheik, and H. poweshiek, and chose to standardize all taxonomic names to reflect the accepted spelling, Oarisma poweshiek (Parker 1870) as printed in Pelham (2008). eventDate: We standardized eventDate to reflect year, month, date. We contacted original data providers to check label transcription and identification of Poweshiek skipperling occurrences that were listed outside the expected Poweshiek skipperling flight period of mid-June to mid-July. We removed eventDates, that were automatically filled with an institution’s default date (e.g. 1700/1/1). Any cells in the dataset that were filled with N/A abbreviations were removed. Data within columns were edited to adopt a controlled vocabulary and the Darwin Core standards were used when applicable. Original data are retained when controlled vocabulary could not be utilized. Spelling errors or errors in transcription were noted and changed to reflect correct spelling. We removed any duplicate records that were gathered from multiple sources by removing occurrences with duplicate occurrenceID and/or catalogNumber. Original data were received and downloaded with varying degrees of indexing. Cleaned data were formatted according to Darwin Core standards (Wieczorek et al. 2012) and primary data providers were informed of any edits. 

Method step description:

  1. See sampling description and quality control for methodology.

Additional Metadata

Purpose Poweshiek skipperling face a high risk of extinction ([COSEWIC] Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada 2014, [USFWS] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2014), making data discovery, aggregation, and sharing an urgent and valuable endeavor. We aggregated and curated occurrence records of the Federally Endangered Poweshiek skipperling to examine and validate the distribution of this species. To this degree, the data is being used in developing ecological niche models to examine the correlation between climate and land use variables and the presence of Poweshiek skipperling through space and time. The publication of occurrence records will inform and encourage continued research into the biology and conservation of Poweshiek skipperling, while also preserving aggregated data in a standardized format that has undergone a cleaning process.
Alternative Identifiers