Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Fiery Skipper
Hylephila phyleus (Drury, 1773)


Family: Hesperiidae
Subfamily: Hesperiinae
Identification: Antennae are very short. Male wide black stigma. Underside of the hindwing is scattered with small black spots. Female: Upperside is dark brown with a very irregular orange band. Underside of hindwing is pale brown with paler checks.
Wing Span: 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 inches (3.2 - 3.8 cm).
Life History: Males perch in lawns and grassy swales to wait for receptive females. Eggs are laid singly under leaves and also on other plants and objects. Caterpillars eat leaves and roll and tie them to make shelters which lie horizontally in the sod.
Flight: Several broods from May-August in the north, all year in Florida and South Texas.
Caterpillar Hosts: Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), crabgrass (Digitaria), St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum), and other grasses.
Adult Food: Nectar from flowers of a variety of plants including sweet pepperbush, swamp milkweed, asters, sneezeweed, knapweed, ironweed, and thistles.
Habitat: Sunny, open areas such as fields, lawns, gardens, levees, roadsides, and second-growth scrub.
Range: Southern United States south through the West Indies and Central America to Argentina. Cannot survive harsh winters; each summer this skipper may stray and re-colonize north to northern California, southern Minnesota, southern Ontario, and southern New England.
Conservation: Not required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
Comments: NULL
Alternate Scientific Names:
Hylephia phyleus
Hylephilia phyleus