Violet-banded Skipper (Nyctelius nyctelius [Latreille])
Wing span: 1 1/16 - 1 1/2 inches (2.7 - 3.9 cm).
Identification: Upperside is black-brown with transparent white spots and a pair of spots in the forewing cell. Underside of hindwing is pale brown with a violet overlay and 2 dark bands; leading edge has a small dark spot.
Life history: Females lay eggs singly on leaves of the host plant. Caterpillars eat leaves and make leaf nests for shelter.
Flight: Several broods; from May-December in South Texas, throughout the year in the tropics.
Caterpillar hosts: Grasses including sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum), corn (Zea mays), and rice (Oryza sativa).
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Subtropical thorn forest.
Range: Argentina north through Central America to Mexico and the West Indies. A periodic stray to the lower Rio Grande Valley, central Texas, southeastern Arizona, and southern California.
Conservation: Not usually required.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: None reported.
Bailowitz, R. A., and J. P. Brock. 1991. Butterflies of southeastern Arizona. Sonoran Arthropod Studies, Inc., Tucson, Arizona. 342 pages. Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates. Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Denver and Fort Collins, CO.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo.