Butterflies are common in the summers in North Carolina, but many people cannot differentiate between the different species, at least outside of the popular monarch butterfly. However, the Fiery Skipper is another common butterfly that can be found all across the United States. The scientific name for the butterfly is the hylephila phyleus.
What they Look Like
Generally, Fiery Skippers are going to be about one inch in length, with a wingspan that reaches from one and a quarter to one and a half inches. They are a relatively small butterfly, though they still manage to draw a lot of attention due to their bright coloring; this is what gives them their name. The male and female butterflies prominently feature orange and black, with the black spotting over the bright base color. However, the females, when not distinctly orange, do tend a bit more toward brown and darker tones, whereas the males tend toward yellow, really causing them to stand out.
Another part of the name is derived from the shape of the wings, which they share with other skippers. These types keep their wings up in more of a triangular position. The forewings stay in a vertical orientation, though at an angle to the ground, and the forewings stay flat against the butterfly's back. This creates an exposed portion between the sets of wings for the maximum amount of exposure to the sun.
Where They Can Be Found
The Fiery Skipper lives on the nectar of flowering plants in its adult life. While they will use numerous type of plants, some of the most common food sources that they seek out include the sweet pepperbush, asters, swamp milkweed, knapweed, sneezeweed and ironweed. They have also been known to feed from thistles.
On the whole, the Fiery Skipper can be found in open fields that get a lot of warm sunlight. They will gravitate toward lawns, gardens, and things of this type. If they do venture into the forest, they prefer second-growth forests due to their open nature. It is this desire for sunlight that plays into the theory that their wings are in a triangle shape to catch that sunlight. In areas with harsh winters, the Fiery Skipper will leave and recolonize in a warmer climate to wait out the cold months, as it will not survive in such temperatures.
While Clegg’s does not service fiery skippers, we always like to provide our customers with insect information. However, if you have problems with any other type of pest, we’d love to help. Contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.
Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiery_skipper