New Jersey Butterflies

Silver-spotted Skipper

Epargyreus clarus

Identification: Small—1.9" (but our largest spreadwing skipper). Above: FW and HW dark brown, with a band of large, squarish, golden spots across the mid-FW. Below: FW and HW dark brown (with violet frosting along wing margins when fresh), with a large, brilliantly white splotch across middle of HW. Part of translucent golden band on FW is usually visible.

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. Common and widespread throughout.

NJ Range Map-Silver-spotted Skipper

Habitat: Dry to moist fields, wet meadows, and wood edges. Easily attracted to gardens with flowers such as Butterfly Bush, milkweeds, and Purple Coneflower.

Flight Period: Two to three broods, that result in a fairly even distribution from mid April to mid-October without obvious peaks. Extreme dates: North Jersey 4/14—10/16; South Jersey 3/19—11/2.

Larval Food Plants: Primarily Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), but also many other legumes, such as tick-trefoils (Desmodium). Larvae bind leaves together to form shelters.

Overwintering Stage: Pupa.

Best Locations: Just about anywhere near the host plants.

Comments: This is one of most familiar butterflies of NJ gardens. The large white spot on the underside of the hindwing appears to glow and can be seen even while this energetic butterfly zooms around.


Silver-spotted Skipper

Springdale, Sussex Co., NJ, 6/27/11.


Silver-spotted Skipper

Sussex Co., NJ, 7/5/03, on Indianhemp.


Silver-spotted Skipper egg

Egg on Hog Peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata).


Silver-spotted Skipper larva

Late instar of Silver-spotted Skipper wrapped in leaflet of Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia).


Black Locust

Leaves of Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia). This legume is one of the primary host plants for Silver-spotted Skipper.


Panicled Tick Trefoil

Panicled Tick Trefoil (Desmodium paniculatum). This is one of several species of legumes used as host plants by Silver-spotted Skipper and Hoary Edge.


Hog Peanut

Hog Peanut (Amphicarpaea bracteata), a host plant of Silver-spotted Skipper.