Palmetto Skipper (Euphyes arpa [Boisduval & LeConte])
Wing span: 1 5/8 - 1 15/16 inches (4.1 - 4.9 cm).
Identification: Head and front of thorax are bright orange. Male: Upperside of forewing is reddish-yellow with black borders and a 2-part black stigma; hindwing is black. Female: Upperside is mostly black with a few reddish-yellow patches. Both sexes: Underside of hindwing is bright yellow-orange with no markings.
Life history: To await females, males perch all day in sedge marshes. Caterpillars eat palmetto fronds and live in silken tubes at the frond base. Partially-grown caterpillars hibernate.
Flight: Probably three broods from March-November.
Caterpillar hosts: Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens).
Adult food: Nectar from flowers including pickerelweed.
Habitat: Lowland palmetto scrub.
Range: Peninsular Florida, southeastern Georgia, coasts of southern Alabama and southern Mississippi.
Conservation: Populations should be conserved wherever found.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G3 - Very rare or local throughout its range or found locally in a restricted range (21 to 100 occurrences). (Threatened throughout its range).
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. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann