Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
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 uniformperhaps because the larvae feed within
sheltersmaking species identification difficult. Caterpillars fashion
silk-lined shelters, venturing out mostly at night to feed.
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