Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Butterflies, Moths and Skippers >>> Fiery Skipper

Phyleus Skipper
Fiery Skipper

Hylephila phyleus

Photo © by Mike Plagens

Photo taken at Phoenix, Arizona.

This small butterfly is a frequent visitor to the flowers of lantana, a shrub that is widely planted in the urban areas of the Sonoran Desert. The flowers have a good nectar supply that is located at the bottom of a long narrow tube. The butterfly unfurls its curled proboscis in order to reach it and suck it up through a powerful pump.

The caterpillars of Phyleus Skippers use another common urban planting as a food plant: Bermuda Grass. Look for the caterpillars on taller bermuda grass plants that grow up along fences or between flower beds.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008