Skipper (Hesperiidae)

Skipper butterfly comprises of the members of the Hesperiidae family, having more than 3500 recognized species divided into about eight families.

Butterflies in This Family

Dakota Skipper Grizzled Skipper Silver-spotted Skipper
Long-tailed Skipper Fiery Skipper

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

The size and color pattern of the caterpillar differ from one member to the other. The larva of the Brazilian skipper has an orange head with spots of black with a greenish-grey body. The caterpillar of the Least Skipper possesses a brown head with a green body. On the other hand, caterpillar belonging to the Silver-spotted Skipper has a large head and a well-defined neck collar.

Pupa

Most of them have a slender appearance, being green, black or white.

Adult Butterfly

Sexual Dimorphism: Present (in some species)

Color and Appearance: Most species of the family have well-rounded wings, sharply tipped on the upper part.  When opened, the wings of different species of this family could be gray, black-and-white, and also brown. Patches of blue, red and yellow may be spotted especially on those with a brown body. When closed, they are brown or orange mostly, while some like the Chequered have golden or cream spots.  Certain males often have black scaly patches or streaks on the fore wings.

Average Wingspan: 2cm to 5cm

Flight pattern:  Quick and erratic

Eggs

They lay globe-shaped, pale green eggs on the upper part of the host plant’s leaves.

Quick Facts

Distribution Central and South America, parts of Europe, Australia  and Africa
Habitat Sunny areas, garden, brushy areas, swamps, open parks, meadows, and fields
Predators
Lifespan of adults 2 to 4 weeks
Host plants Grasses, legumes, Black locust, and Native Columbine
Adult diet Nectar of plants and mud at times to gain vitamins

Did You Know

  • Their quick and spontaneous flight pattern gives them their name.
  • The common butterflies of this family include Dakota skipper, Essex skipper ; Silver-spotted skipper, and Chequered skipper