Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)
The Silver-spotted Skipper is a species of butterfly belonging to the ‘skipper’ group that, according to the scientists, are intermediate between the butterflies and the moths. They are widely scattered throughout the United States, and some parts of the neighboring countries.
Description and Identification
The larva has a segmented body, with each segment alternating with peach-orange and beige. The head is dark brown to black, while the tiny legs are dark orange in color. As they age, they gradually turn bright yellow, with the head turning bright red with two distinct yellow spots resembling eyes (as an adaptation to scare off predators). They survive on several woody legumes from their host plants.
The pupae are relatively flatter, and with a dull gray-yellow to rusty brown coloration, that perfectly blends with the dry/dead leaves of the host plants.
Sexual Dimorphism: Present
Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, they show a brownish black color with yellow to golden and orange markings. The males have two elongated, black marks in the middle of the forewings, which the females lack. Both the hindwings are lobed. When the wings are closed, they display more or less the same faint patterns except that, both the hindwings bear a metallic white band.
Average wingspan: 1.75 to 2.63 inches (4.5 to 6.7 cm)
Flight pattern: Swift and acrobatic
Lemon yellow in color, with segments like that of citrus fruits, and are laid one at a time.
|Distribution||Spread from southern regions of Canada throughout most of the US, down to northern Mexico (except in the Great Basin and western Texas)|
|Habitat||Sunny open lands, forest edges, foothill stream courses, fields, prairie waterways, and human-made gardens|
|Host plants||Mostly prefers black locust (Robinia pseudacacia), honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) and false indigo (Amorpha species)|
|Adult diet||Flower nectar|
Did You Know?
- The butterfly gets its name from the silver (metallic white) band on the back of the hindwings.
- The larvae are considered as pests, since they feed on several crop plants including soybean and kidney bean.
- The butterfly almost never visits yellow flowers but prefers red, pink, purple, blue, and, at times, white and cream.