The silver-spotted skipper is the largest skipper in Missouri, easily recognized by the dark color, gold spots on the forewings, and the distinctive silvery white patch beneath the hindwing. Like other skippers, this species has a stout body and relatively small wings. The club of the antenna has a slender tip that curves backward.
Larvae are rather plain, bright yellowish green, but with a large, reddish-brown head with two orange eyespots.
Wingspan: 1½–2½ inches.
Habitat and Conservation
A common species of brushy fields, roadsides, and city yards. Males frequently perch on plants and shrubs, darting out at any passing butterfly. Skippers are named for skipping pattern of their swift, bouncing, erratic flight.
Larvae feed on members of the bean or pea family. In our state, they have been found on false indigo, wisteria, honey locust, black locust, rose acacia, and wild senna. Adults visit flowers and mud puddles.
Common breeding resident.
There are 3 broods a year, with adults flying from early April to mid-October.
In addition to their considerable aesthetic value, butterflies and skippers pollinate plants, many of which have commercial importance. Additionally, because they are sensitive to toxins and disturbance, they are good indicators of the overall status of ecosystems.
The caterpillars are herbivores that graze on vegetation. The adults serve a role in pollination. All stages provide food for predators.