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Butterflies of Pennsylvania -- Autochton cellus

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of Pennsylvania

Golden-banded Skipper (Autochton cellus)
JPG -- species photo

Golden-banded Skipper (Autochton cellus [Boisduval & LeConte])

Wing span: 1 3/8 - 2 inches (3.5 - 5.1 cm).

Identification: Wings are dark brown-black. Forewing has a wide yellow band, and a small white patch near the apex. Underside is dark brown with 2-3 darker bands; hindwing margin may have gray overscales.

Life history: Adults are active in the late afternoon. To seek females, males perch in gullies on rocks or up to 6 feet above ground on vegetation. Females lay eggs in strings of 2-7 at the base of host plant leaflets. Caterpillars live in shelters of rolled or tied leaves and emerge at night to feed on leaves. Chrysalids hibernate.

Flight: Two broods; from May-August in the north, April-September in the south. One brood from June-September in southern Arizona.

Caterpillar hosts: New Mexico locust (Robinia neomexicana) and hog peanut (Amphicarpa bracteata).

Adult food: Nectar from flowers including trailing arbutus, blackberry, abelia, and hollyhock.

Habitat: Damp, wooded ravines with permanent water sources.

Range: In the west from central Arizona, southwest New Mexico, and west Texas south to central Mexico. In the east from Maryland south to South Carolina, west to eastern Oklahoma and northeast Texas. Isolated population in northern Florida.

Conservation: Not usually required.

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.

References:

Bailowitz, R. A., and J. P. Brock. 1991. Butterflies of southeastern Arizona. 
     Sonoran Arthropod Studies, Inc., Tucson, Arizona. 342 pages.

Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns 
     Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates.

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.

Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., 
     Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

State and Regional References:

Glassberg,  J.  1993.  Butterflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to 
     Butterflies in the Boston-New York-Washington Region.  Oxford Univ. Press, 
     New York, N.Y.  160 pp.

Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998.  The Butterflies of 
     Canada.  University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON.  280 pp. 
     
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format.
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.     

Shapiro, A.M. 1966.  Butterflies of the Delaware Valley.  American Entomological
     Society Special Publication.  Philadelphia, PA.  79 pp. 

Tietz, H.M.  1952.  The Lepidoptera of Pennsylvania.  The Pennsylvania State 
     College School of Agriculture Agricultural Experiment Station.  State 
     College, PA.  194 pp.

Wright, D.M.  1995,  Atlas of Pennsylvania Butterflies. Special Private 
     Publication, Lansdale, PA.  22 pp.
Golden-banded Skipper (Autochton cellus)
distribution map
map legend

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