Background Primary biodiversity data records that are open access and available in a standardised format are essential for conservation planning and research on policy-relevant time-scales. 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 from 1872 to present. Occurrence records were obtained from 37 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 standardised 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 standardised format. New information This is a validated and comprehensive dataset of occurrence records for the Poweshiek skipperling (Oarisma poweshiek) utilising both observation and specimen-based records. Occurrence data are preserved and available for continued research and conservation projects using standardised Darwin Core formatting where possible. Prior to this project, much of these occurrence records were not mobilised and were being stored in individual institutional databases, researcher datasets and personal records. This dataset aggregates presence data from state conservation agencies, natural heritage programmes, natural history collections, citizen scientists, researchers and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The data include opportunistic observations and collections, research vouchers, observations collected for population monitoring and observations collected using standardised research methodologies. The aggregated occurrence records underwent cleaning efforts that improved data interoperablitity, removed transcription errors and verified or removed uncertain data. This dataset enhances available information on the spatiotemporal distribution of this Federally Endangered species. As part of this aggregation process, we discovered and verified Poweshiek skipperling occurrence records from two previously unknown states, Nebraska and Ohio.
- Butterfly Conservation
- Endangered Species
- Oarisma poweshiek
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics