New Jersey Butterflies

Fiery Skipper

Hylephila phyleus

Identification: Very small—FW 0.6". Above: Male mainly orange on both wings. FW has prominent stigma pointing to a curvilinear dark patch that in turn points to a dark apex. Dark borders on trailing edges of both wings have jagged inner margins. Female appears more dark-brown above, with orange spots in the FW and orange spots and patches forming an arrow-shaped mark on the HW. Below: Male is bright orange with scatted small dark dots. Female much duller, with dark dots placed at the outer ends of pale markings. Similar skippers: None.

NJ Status and Distribution: Nonresident. Mainly a summer immigrant from the south, although its range may be creeping northward. Most common in southern counties and along the coast, but is now quite regular, usually in small numbers, inland and even in the northwest counties.

NJ Range Map-Fiery Skipper

Habitat: Sunny, open areas, particularly disturbed places. Readily visits garden flowers where it likes to nectar at Butterfly Bush, Brazilian Verbena, and sedum.

Flight Period: Early July to late November in north but most seen in August and September. Extreme dates: North Jersey 7/3—11/26; South Jersey 6/12—12/5.

Larval Food Plants: Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon), crabgrass (Digitaria).

Overwintering Stage: Unknown.

Best Locations: Cape May NWR, Higbee Beach WMA, Cattus Island CP, Troy Meadows, Hyper Humus WMA, Sandy Hook GNRA, Cape May Point Pavilion Circle, Hereford Inlet Lighthouse gardens.

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Fiery Skipper

Male, Glenhurst Meadows, Somerset Co., NJ, 9/28/12, on Aster.


Fiery Skipper

Male, Fredon Twp., Sussex Co., NJ, 8/3/10, on Brazilian Verbena.


Fiery Skipper

Female, Big Brook Park, Monmouth Co., NJ, 8/22/04.


Fiery Skipper

Female, Metuchen, Middlesex Co., NJ, 8/23/06.