Fiery Skipper

Hylephila phyleus

The Fiery Skipper is a common species throughout the southern U.S. and moves north nearly every year. It probably arrives in Wisconsin regularly, though it is not usually very common, and should be looked for in the southern half of the state from late July through the first frost. I look for this species throughout the southern counties each year, especially in flower gardens in towns. 2006 was a banner year for this species in Wisconsin as it was seen in six counties. That year, I saw 19 at the Rotary Gardens in Janesville on October 1; before this year my previous high for the day had been a single individual! 2007 was even a better year for seeing this skipper, with individuals making it all the way to Lake Superior, the farthest north that this species has been recorded in the United States, and it was reported from 19 counties. This was surprising as this species was recorded historically from only 8 counties total through 1999.

Weekly sightings for Fiery Skipper

Identifying characteristics

Below, the male of this skipper is a very bright orange skipper with a dark spots. The female is similar but with larger, more conspicuous spots. Above, the male is orange with a very jagged black margin and a black stigma. The female is similar but with more bold dark markings so that there is less orange showing.

Similar species

None in Wisconsin.

Habitat

Old fields, roadsides, and flower gardens.

Flight

This species is multiple-brooded in the southern part of its range, but is a stray in Wisconsin. It may enter the state from the south in mid-summer and a second, local brood may occur. Most sightings for this species are in late summer.

Abundance

This species, being a stray, is most often seen singly, but it is possible for local populations to become established and this species to become fairly common.

Early Fiery Skipper Sightings

Date County Reported by
May 22, 2012 Rock Karl and Dorothy Legler
May 25, 2012 Grant Karl and Dorothy Legler
May 25, 2012 Dane Douglas Buege
May 26, 2012 Florence Mike Reese
May 26, 2012 Columbia Jim Otto

Locations

Map showing sighting locations for Fiery Skipper
Map key
Fiery SkipperClick to enlarge

N. of Cassville, Grant Co., Wi. July 29, 2007.

Fiery SkipperClick to enlarge

Female

Edge of Lake Montesian, Monticello, Green Co., WI. September 3, 2005.

Fiery SkipperClick to enlarge

Male

Wautoma, Waushara Co., WI. October 11, 2002.

Fiery SkipperClick to enlarge

Female

Wautoma, WI. October 10, 2002.

Fiery SkipperClick to enlarge

High Cliff State Park, Calumet Co., WI. August 1, 2006.

Fiery SkipperClick to enlarge

Rotary Gardens, Janesville, Rock Co., WI. August 22, 2007.

Fiery SkipperClick to enlarge

Edge of Lake Montesian, Monticello, Green Co., WI. September 3, 2005.