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Silver-spotted Skipper

Epargyreus clarus clarus (Cramer, 1775)

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Adult photo (Click to enlarge)
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Adult photo (Click to enlarge)
Distribution Map
Ohio county distribution
Records by Month
Flight period (Temporal distribution)

STATUS: Resident; common.

DISTRIBUTION/RANGE: Statewide (see map).

HABITAT: This species is usually encountered along forest margins, areas containing young, brushy second growth, fence rows, powerline cuts through forest, and in virtually any other open area where the primary foodplants occur.

HOSTPLANT(S): In Ohio, this species has been found and reared on black locust, honey-locust, and hog-peanut. Bales (1909) also reports wisteria.

ADULT ENERGY RESOURCES: Red clover, hop clover, blue vervain, teasel, horseweed, alfalfa, multiflora rose, redbud, tall ironweed, common milkweed, Canada thistle, field thistle, dame's rocket, black raspberry, tall bellflower, self-heal, and many garden flowers. Adults also imbibe moisture from damp soil and mud.

FLIGHT PERIOD: Two to three broods, with peaks in May, June, and August (see graph). Extreme dates range from 4 March through 8 October.

SIMILAR SPECIES: The Hoary Edge Skipper (Achalarus lyciades (Geyer)) lacks the large silvery-white patch in the center of the ventral hindwing that characterizes E. clarus.

GENERAL COMMENTS: This is the largest and one of our most common resident skippers. Statewide in occurrence, this species is best sought in clover and alfalfa fields that border stands of the hostplant.

Males perch on tree limbs and fly out to investigate almost any passing object. Because they often return to the same perch, they may be territorial. Females have a slow dipping flight when searching for oviposition sites in low underbrush. Both sexes often rest on the undersides of leaves. Because its flight is fast and powerful, it is almost impossible to observe on the wing. This species is best observed while it is visiting flowers or perching on leaves.

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