Common Name: Silver Spotted Skipper

Scientific Name: Epargyreus clarus

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Lepidoptera

Family: Hesperiidae

Genus: Epargyreus

Species: E. clarus

 

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The animal I researched is the Silver-spotted Skipper.  This is the average butterfly you can see flying around in parks and gardens mostly in North America.  The Silver-spotted Skipper has a range from Canada through America, and into Mexico.  The adult stage of this species has a wingspan of 43 -67 millimeters.  It is a silver brown color and also has two large dots to mimic eyes on its head to defend themselves from predators.
 

The Silver-spotted Skipper goes through a complete metamorphosis cycle.  That means they go through four stages of change.  They first start out as an egg.  Then the egg hatches and becomes a larva.  Then from the larvae stage, they go to a caterpillar.  Next, they make a cocoon for themselves and burrow themselves into it.  Lastly, they transform into a butterfly that they will lay eggs and start the life cycle over again.
 

The habitat of the Silver-spotted Skipper ranges from Canada to the United States and on into Mexico.  They usually reside in open parks, fields, gardens, and meadows.  Their diet usually consists of nectar from flowers.  They prefer the nectar of blue, pink, purple, red and occasionally white or creamed flowers.  They compete for nectar with bees and other butterflies.  The Silver-spotted Skipper gets what it needs from the flowers it visits, but also helps the flowers by spreading its pollen.  This is an example of interdependence where both living things help each other increase their numbers. 
 

This butterfly also has a special adaptation for defense against predators.  Their heads have a feature that gives them an advantage.  It has two orange dots mimicking eyes of a larger animal.  Also, when they are caterpillars, they can build themselves shelters out of carefully cut leaves.  When they are adults, during the night, they will hang themselves upside down under leaves to be hidden from predators.  These are all examples of how this species uses ways to protect themselves.
 

In conclusion, the Silver-spotted Skipper may be common in nature, it is still a very interesting one to learn about.  I enjoyed researching this butterfly.   An interesting fact that stood out to me was that they rarely ever visit yellow flowers. 
 

Author: Martin E.
Published: 05/2010


Sources: “Epargyreus clarus”.  Wikipedia Encyclopedia, last modified 01/18/10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epargyreus_clarus,  02/08/10.

“Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) by Debbie Hadley”.  About.com.   http://insects.about.com/od/butterfliesmoths/p/Eclarus.htm.  02/08/10.

“Silver-spotted Skipper, Espargyreus clarus”.  Butterflies and Moths of North America, http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species?l=1905.  02/09/10