Hylephila p. phyleus

Fiery Skipper

This is the skipper of my suburban childhood summers. It loves to nectar on garden lantana, and its elusive caterpillars feed on and nest within lawn grasses such as Bermuda. Males are a lighter, more golden color than females. They can be found most of the year, but are especially common in the heat of late summer and into the fall. Fiery skippers range along the southern part of the U.S. from southern California to Florida (and Hawaii), and south to Argentina. There are several subspecies elsewhere in South America. It was first described by Dru Drury in 1773 based on specimens from St. Christopher's, Nevis, and Antigua.

For a detailed account of the life cycle of the fiery skipper, I've created a separate page with information about rearing this species. My own first attempts haven't worked out well, though I got some nice egg and first instar photos.

Hylephila phyleus  - The Fiery Skipper
A male Fiery Skipper nectaring on Bachelor's Button in my garden in Long Beach, CA, June 24, 2005.
Hylephila phyleus - Fiery Skipper
Male Fiery Skipper in the garden, October 25, 2005.
Hylephila phyleus - Fiery Skipper
Female Fiery Skipper in my garden in Long Beach. July 22, 2007.
Hylephila phyleus - Fiery Skipper
Female in my garden. October 26, 2005.
Ova of Hylephila phyleus - Fiery Skipper
A tiny Fiery Skipper egg on host Bermuda grass, October 3, 2008.
Original description of Hylephila phyleus - Fiery Skipper
This skipper was named by Dru Drury in 1773. This illustration was accompanied by the written description below, from his Illustrations of Natural History, published in London in 1770 in the first volume (without actually naming the skipper).
Original description of Hylephila phyleus - Fiery Skipper

©Dennis Walker