Wild South Florida — Fiery Skipper Butterfly
 
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Fiery Skipper Butterfly
Fiery Skipper Butterfly  

If you find a brownish-orange butterfly fluttering low above your lawn, there's a pretty good chance it's this guy, the fiery skipper, Hylephila phyleus. It likes grass. In fact, it depends on grass. Bermuda, St. Augustine and crab grasses are host plants for the fiery skipper's offspring. Skippers, members of the Hesperiidae family, are small to medium butterflies, relatively drabbly colored, with short, fat bodies and elongated forewings. They are rapid flyers, with their wings often a blur. The fiery skipper has a wingspan of about one-and-a-half

Fiery Skipper Butterfly

 
 
Fiery Skipper Butterfly

inches, maximum. They have scattered black spots and have short antennae. Females are darker and have an irregular orange streak. Their habitat includes open fields, lawns and roadsides. The fiery skipper is a southern butterfly, ranging as far west as California, but it will wander as far north as Minnesota, into New Engand and southern Canada. It flies year-round in peninsular Florida and southern Texas but is limited further north by the cold. It's also found in the Caribbean, Central America and South America as far south as Argentina. Fiery skippers will produce three or more generations during the year; its global population is considered secure. These photographs were taken at Tivoli Sand Pines Preserve.

You can see the short antennae of the fiery skipper in the photo at left.

 
 
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