Phyleus Skipper
Fiery Skipper

Hylephila phyleus

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 by means of 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 in flower beds.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 23 Aug. 2005,
updated 30 Jan. 2020.