North American Butterflies and Moths List

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U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Three-spotted Skipper (Cymaenes tripunctus)

Three-spotted Skipper (Cymaenes tripunctus [Herrich-Schäffer])

Wing span: 1 1/8 - 1 3/8 inches (2.9 - 3.5 cm).

Identification: Wings are dull dark brown. Upperside of forewing has 3 tiny transparent white spots on the leading edge near the tip and 2-3 spots at the end of the cell. Underside of hindwing is yellow-brown with faint pale spots near the center.

Life history: Females lay eggs on top of host plant leaves, which caterpillars eat. Caterpillars live in nests of rolled leaves.

Flight: Several broods from March-October.

Caterpillar hosts: Guinea grass (Panicum maximum).

Adult food: Flower nectar.

Habitat: Grassy subtropical areas.

Range: South Florida and the Keys south through the West Indies, central Mexico, and Central America to Paraguay.

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.


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.

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

Author: Jane M. Struttmann

Three-spotted Skipper (Cymaenes tripunctus)
distribution map
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