Hammock Skipper (Polygonus leo [Gmelin])
Wing span: 1 11/16 - 2 5/16 inches (4.3 - 5.9 cm).
Identification: Hindwing is lobed. Upperside is black-brown with 3 square white spots. Underside of hindwing is brown with a blue sheen and a black spot near the base.
Life history: When inactive, adults rest upside down on the underside of leaves. They are most active on sunny days, but fly mostly in the shade.
Flight: Several flights from May-September in the Southwest, many flights all year in southern Florida. A rare stray from Mexico into South Texas.
Caterpillar hosts: In Florida, Jamaican dogwood (Piscidia piscipula) and karum tree (Pongamia pinnata); other legumes elsewhere.
Adult food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Openings and trails in hardwood hammocks in Florida, near small permanent streams in Arizona, subtropical woods in South Texas.
Range: Argentina north through Central America and Mexico to the West Indies and southern Florida. Strays to Texas and the Southwest.
Conservation: Hardwood hammocks in Florida should be conserved.
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. 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. Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann