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Subfamily Eudaminae - Dicot Skippers

Silver-spotted Skipper Caterpillar - Epargyreus clarus  Silver-spotted Skipper - Epargyreus clarus Unknown Caterpillar - Epargyreus clarus Hammock Skipper - Polygonus leo silver-spotted skipper caterpillar  - Epargyreus clarus Caterpillar found on trunk of Black Locust - Epargyreus clarus Hesperiidae, Silver-spotted Skipper, dorsal - Epargyreus clarus Strange orange-eyed bobble-head creature rolled up in leaves of a False Wild Indigo - Epargyreus clarus
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Hesperiidae (Skippers)
Subfamily Eudaminae (Dicot Skippers)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Traditionally included as a tribe (or several) within the subfamily Pyrginae
Explanation of Names
"Dicot" refers to the larval host plants: Dicotyledons.
"Flashers" is a name widely used for tropical members of the group, but not for most species in the US.
Identification
Usually large for Skippers. Front wings (and usually hind wings) distinctly triangular in shape. Hind wings often prolonged at the hind angle, sometimes into a long tail. Antennae with long tapered clubs that curve through their length. Usually dark brown with angular white, gold, or glassy spots on front wings and sometimes hind wings. Often (especially when fresh) with a reflective blue or green sheen to the base of wings and body above. Most species are more inclined to rest or perch with their wings folded in typical "butterfly fashion" than other Skippers, or only partially opened and not flat out to the sides. They rarely rest with the hind wings significantly more spread open than the front wings.

In appearance most easily confused with some of the darker members of subfamily Hesperiinae (Grass Skippers), but those are usually considerably smaller, with antennal clubs often shaped differently, and they characteristcally rest with hind wings spread to the sides more than front wings.

Members of the Pyrginae are usually smaller (some are relatively large) and more often rest or perch with their wings spread out flat to the sides. The wings are usually less distinctly triangular, often more rounded and less elongate, and sometimes quite irregular (almost scalloped) at the outer edge. They tend to have the pattern more broken or pale, but this varies a lot with the genus.

Members of the tribe Pyrrhopygini of the subfamily Pyrginae are very similar to Eudaminae, but they barely enter the U.S., and our species are easily separated by coloration.
Range
Mostly a Neotropical group but some occur in Asia. The group is well-represented in the U.S., with some ranging north into Canada.
Habitat
Most species favor wooded areas where their host plants grow.
Food
Various dicots, mostly woody, with Fabaceae and Fabaceae perhaps the most important families used.
Remarks
This group was traditionally placed within the Pyrginae as a tribe (or several tribes), but as a group the Eudaminae are distinctly different-looking and different-behaving insects from most Pyrginae. Most recent workers have elevated the Eudaminae to subfamily status, which is supported by molecular DNA evidence. The Eudaminae is a distinctive and fairly easily recognized group in North America.
Print References
Warren, Andrew D., Joshua R. Ogawa, Andrew V. Z. Brower; June 2009; 'Revised classification of the family Hesperiidae (Lepidoptera: Hesperioidea) based on combined molecular and morphological data'; Systematic Entomology 34(3): 467–523



Article first published online: 11 JUN 2009
Internet References
list of species about two-thirds distance down page, with common name, distribution, and links to photos of numerous species (Interactive Listing of American Butterflies, butterfliesofamerica.com)