|Fiery Skipper Butterfly – Hylephila phyleus|
Family: Hesperiidae – Skippers / Subfamily: Hesperiinae – Grass skippers
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Live adult skipper butterflies photographed at Alpharetta, Georgia and The Morton Arboretum
Fiery Skipper stokes his fires with flower nectar.
It's the male fiery skipper that puts the fire in the skipper. They are brilliantly orange colored, which makes them highly visible as they dart around with their swift and erratic flight. And it's the female's comparatively drab paint job that provides her with excellent camouflage, especially in flight. It's extremely difficult to follow her swooping and continual abrupt changes of direction. Luckily, if you've a sunny field with clover and short foliage, they can be numerous enough where finding a new subject is quick and easy.
All adult true skippers have six well developed legs. Their eggs are tiny, usually less than .1mm. Most skipper caterpillars are green and tapered, and the neck appears constricted. The caterpillars weave silk and leaves into a daytime shelter for protection. Most pupate in loosely woven cocoons. The chrysalises are often coated with a powder or bloom. Chrysalis and caterpillars may overwinter.
Skipper butterflies can be divided into five subfamilies:
Order Lepidoptera, which contains both butterflies and moths, includes at least 125,000 known species including 12,000 in North America. Butterflies are revered for their brightly colored wings and pleasing association with fair weather and flowers.