Medium sized butterfly measuring up to 2 5/8" in length. The wings are brown-black, hindwing is lobed, forewing has transparent gold spots, underside of hindwing has a metallic silver band. Eggs are green with a red top. Caterpillars are yellow with a reddish brown head with two yellow spots. Chrysalis is brown with dark markings.
Widespread in North America south to southern peninsular Florida and northern Mexico; very rare in South Florida.
Hammocks, swamps, disturbed and open woods, and waterways.
Eggs are laid near the host trees and caterpillars must find the host plant. There are three to four broods from December to February in the south.
Adults can be seen hanging upside down. Caterpillars create specialized leaf nests.
Larval host plants include natives in the pea family including false indigo (Amorpha fruticosa), American hogpeanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata), Atlantic pigeonwings (Clitoria mariana), groundnut (Apios americana), Elliott’s milkpea (Galactia elliottii) and American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens). Nectar host plants include swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), dense gayfeather (Liatris spicata) and purple thistle (Cirsium horridulum). Silver-spotted skipper avoids yellow flowers and prefers blue, red, pink and purple flowers.