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Hammock Skipper
Polygonus leo

Copyright by: Beryn Harty, 2014

Medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan up to 2-5/16 inches. The upperside is blackish-brown with a bluish iridescent sheen; there are three large white spots and three small white spots on the forewing. The underside is grayish-brown with a bluish sheen and a black spot near the base of the hindwing. The caterpillar has a white, flattened head with a black line on the side and two black spots on the face. The thick, pale green body has many tiny yellow spots and a narrow yellow line on the side.
Extreme southern Florida, west to Texas and Arizona, south from Mexico to Central America, West Indies.
Distribution and Abundance in Florida:
Three or more broods per year in South Florida. Rare to uncommon most of the year in South Florida; uncommon to common all year in the Keys.
Openings in hardwood hammocks, lawns, and gardens.
The green eggs are laid singly on the leaves of the host plants.
Natural History:
This butterfly often lands upside down with its wings closed on the underside of a leaf. The caterpillar lives in a shelter made of leaves held together by silk.
Larval host plants include the native Jamaica-dogwood (Piscidia piscipula) and the nonnative karum tree (Millettia pinnata). Nectar plants include the native Florida hammock milkpea (Galactia striata), wild-sage (Lantana involucrata), yellowroot (Morinda royoc), Florida Keys blackbead (Pithecellobium keyense), and sweetscent (Pluchea odorata), the weedy native Spanish-needles (Bidens alba var. radiata), and the nonnative shrubverbena (Lantana camara) and Mexican flamevine (Pseudogynoxys chenopodioides).
For more information, visit Butterflies and Moths of North America.

Copyright by: Beryn Harty, 2014

Copyright by: Beryn Harty, 2014

Copyright by: Beryn Harty, 2016
Caterpillar in shelter

Copyright by: Beryn Harty, 2016
Caterpillar on Piscidia piscipula

Copyright by: Beryn Harty, 2014

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