Silver-spotted Skipper, Epargyreus clarus

Silver-spotted Skipper

Epargyreus clarus

The Silver-spotted Skipper is Wisconsin’s largest skipper. It is essentially a brown butterfly with a few white spots on the forewing above and an orangish band that cuts through the middle of the wing. Below, the species has a large silvery/white mark through the center of the hindwing that contrasts greatly with the brown color of the wing and which makes this species easy to identify, even from a distance.

A wide variety of habitats including old fields, woodland edges, and gardens. It is fond of nectar and can be seen nectaring on a variety of flowers.

Overwintering Strategy:   Mid-stage Caterpillars

The first brood of this species is present in June and early July, with a second brood in late July and August, at least in the southern counties.

Caterpillar Host Plants:
Black Locust

The Silver-spotted Skipper is one of the more common skippers in the southern two-thirds of the state. In Wisconsin wherever its main host plant, Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) is found, this species is likely to be present. This tree is an invasive alien and once it is established, it forms large colonies.

Overwintering Strategy

Two-way migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to Central Mexico
Small migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to southern US
Immigrant: Adult migrates into Wisconsin from warmer areas and don't fly south in winter
Adult Butterfly: Hibernates overwinter as an adult butterfly
Eggs: Eggs laid on stems, twigs or foot plants overwinter in diapause
Caterpillar: Caterpillars make nests on the base of plants and hibernate until spring
Chrysalis: Caterpillars shed their last skin, form a chrysalis and enter diapause.

For more information, read: Where Do Butterflies Go In Winter?

Further Information:   

 Design A Butterfly Garden
 Take The Butterfly Quiz
 Monarch Life Cycle
 Butterflies and Moths of North America
 Southern Wisconsin Butterfly Assn (NABA)
 The Butterfly Site

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