Potrillo Skipper (Cabares potrillo [Lucas])
Wing span: 1 1/8 - 1 11/16 inches (2.9 - 4.3 cm).
Identification: Upperside is brown with 2 darker bands across both wings. Forewing cell contains a double U-shaped transparent spot. Hindwing margin has shallow scallops; underside of hindwing with 2 dark bands.
Life history: Eggs are laid on leaves of the host plant. Young caterpillars can be killed by a powdery mildew on the leaves, and they can die if punctured by the sharp hooked spines on the lower surfaces. Consequently, they live in silk shelters and move around very little.
Flight: Three broods throughout the year in South Texas.
Caterpillar hosts: Catstongue (Priva lappulacea) in the vervain family (Verbenaceae).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers of Bidens and Melochia.
Habitat: Subtropical open fields and moist woods, edge of the Rio Grande.
Range: Colombia and Venezuela north through Central America and the West Indies to the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Strays north to central Texas.
Conservation: Populations in the lower Rio Grande Valley should be monitored and conserved.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: None reported.
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. Smith, D. S., L. D. Miller, and J. Y. Miller. 1994. The butterflies of the West Indies and South Florida. Oxford University Press, Oxford. 264 pages, 32 color plates.
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.