Home / Skipper (Hesperiidae) / Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Fiery Skipper source: benkolstad.net

Found in three subspecies, the Fiery Skipper butterfly has a unique look in the sense that they are often mistaken for having only two wings, instead of four, because of their posture of sitting on their host flowers. These are small creatures with a body length of only about an inch or so.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Hesperiidae
  • Genus: Hylephila
  • Scientific Name: Hylephila phyleus

Description and Identification


Fiery Skipper Caterpillar source: bugguide.net

The mature larva is about 0.5 inches in size, with a white body marked with black spots and long spines. The orange head has two black horns, while there is also a yellow anal plate. They remain solitary or form small groups of 2 to 3 individuals.


Fiery Skipper Pupa source: dallasbutterflies.com

The chrysalis is light brown with golden spots on the back, and about ten black spines protruding from the ventral side. The thorax or mid portion is distinctly curved, with the antennae having multiple short black spines.

Adult Butterfly

Sexual Dimorphism: Present

Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the males show orange or yellow wings having dark spots all over, while the females have a dark brown base with yellow to orange spots. When the wings are closed, the same patterns are displayed, but in a much fainter contrast.

Fiery Skipper Female source: dpughphoto.com

Fiery Skipper Male source: c1.staticflickr.com

Average wingspan: 3 cm to 4 cm (1.18 inches to 1.57 inches)

Flight pattern: Very fast and haphazard


Fiery Skipper Eggs source: butterfliesofcuba.com

Yellow in color, and laid one at a time

Quick Facts

Distribution North and South America, from Canada to Argentina
Habitat Dense green vegetation, public places like parks and gardens, roadsides, open fields and meadows
Lifespan of adults About a month
Host plants Several species of grass including Bermuda grass, crabgrass, St. Augustine grass, etc.
Adult diet Flower nectar including thistles, sneezeweed, knapweed, sweet pepperbush, swamp milkweed, asters, and ironweed

Did You Know?

  • While sitting, the fiery skippers can hold their wings in a triangle shape, which is unique to only the ‘skipper’ (‘skipperling’) species.
  • Their sitting position is thought to be an adaptation for absorbing the sun’s rays in a better way.
  • The larva of this species is considered as a pest.

Fiery Skipper Butterfly source: cdn.butterflyatlas.org

Fiery Skipper Images source: cdn.butterflyatlas.org

Hylephila phyleus source: wikimedia.org

Fiery Skipper Host Plant source: objects.liquidweb.services

Fiery Skipper Pictures source: naba.org

Fiery Skipper Range source: gardenswithwings.com

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Scientific Classification

  • Family: Hesperiidae
  • Genus: Hylephila
  • Scientific Name: Hylephila phyleus
Published by Poppy Glendening on November 24, 2018.
Last Updated: October 15, 2023. ✅ Verified by: Butterfly Team