The family Hesperiidae includes all butterflies that are collectively called skippers
because of their fast skipping flight. This family is the sole member of the Superfamily
Hesperioidea. Whereas, the other five families of butterflies belong to the Superfamily
Papilionoidea. So, skippers are considered butterflies, but they have a few traits
different than the species of “True” butterflies found in the Superfamily Papilionoidea.
Some of these traits include large eyes, short antennae (often with hooked clubs)
and stout bodies. Most also have a very rapid flight with a fast, almost blurred,
wing beat. There are about 3,500 species of skippers and they’re further divided
into seven subfamilies. They occur worldwide with more found in the tropics. Most
species are brown or tan, but some tropical members can be quite colorful.
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Erynnis horatius belongs to the subfamily Pyrginae. This species is found from Massachusetts
west to eastern South Dakota and south through most of the eastern United States
to Florida, the Gulf Coast, and South Texas then south in the west through southeastern
Utah, Colorado, northeastern Arizona and New Mexico. Its preferred habitat includes
open woodlands and edges, clearings, fencerows, wooded swamps, power-line right-of-ways,
open fields and roadsides.
The larval food source includes various oaks, Quercus sp. To seek females, males
perch at the ends of twigs on hilltops or slopes about one foot above the ground.
Mating has been observed around midday. Females deposit eggs singly on new growth
of the host. Caterpillars feed on young leaves and rest in leaf nests. Caterpillars
of the last brood hibernate.