|Silver-Spotted Skipper Butterfly – Epargyreus clarus
Family: Hesperiidae – Skippers / Subfamily Eudaminae – Dicot Skippers
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Live skipper butterflies photographed in the wild at northern Illinois
Silver-Spotted skippers reach about 20mm body length
Skipper butterfly 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, much like many dragonflies. Chrysalis and caterpillars may overwinter.
Skippers in subfamily Eudaminae are commonly called dicot skippers, after their larval host plants, the Dicotyledons, a group of flowering plants, the seeds of which have two embryonic leaves, or cotyledons. Eudaminae used to be included as a tribe (or several) within the subfamily Pyrginae (spread-wing skippers). Dicot skippers are large as skipper butterflies go.
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.