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Caterpillars of Eastern Forests

Skippers (Family Hesperiidae)


All skipper caterpillars may be immediately recognized by their distinctive shape: they have a large head and constricted neck (first thoracic segment). The body is widest toward the front of the abdomen then tapers to the rear. Each body segment is annulated and covered with numerous minute hairs. Crochets of 2 or 3 lengths are arranged in a circle. Many skippers have a distinctive anal comb that can be used to launch excreta away from the feeding site. Body coloration tends to be rather uniform—perhaps because the larvae feed within shelters—making species identification difficult. Caterpillars fashion silk-lined shelters, venturing out mostly at night to feed.


Caterpillar Thumbnail
Silver-spotted Skipper

(Epargyreus clarus)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Juvenal's Dusky Wing

(Erynnis juvenalis)

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