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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Atrytone arogos belongs to the subfamily Hesperiinae. This rare and endangered species
is found in isolated colonies in Georgia, peninsular Florida, the Gulf Coast, southeast
North Dakota and central Minnesota south to South Texas and the Colorado front range.
It strays to west Virginia, northern Arkansas and Illinois. Its preferred habitat
includes relatively undisturbed grasslands, prairies, sand prairies and serpentine
The larval food source includes big bluestem, Andropogon gerardi, and probably other
native grasses. To wait for receptive females, males perch on low vegetation near
host plants in the afternoon. Females deposit eggs singly under host plant leaves.
Caterpillars feed on leaves and live in tents of two leaves silked together. Fourth
instar caterpillars hibernate, complete their feeding the next spring, and pupate
in a leaf cocoon in vegetation about 3 feet above the ground.