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HESPERIIDAE Darters and Skippers

Cephrenes augiades Orange Palm-dart


Orange Palm-dart - Cephrenes augiades
Photo:Derek Boddington

Orange Palm-darts are medium sized with large bodies and relatively small orange-yellow wings. They fly in a very rapid and jerky style, which has earned them the name "skippers". Lays eggs on palm trees. The caterpillars are green, after hatching they lay silk on the palm leaf, the silk shrinks and pulls the two side of the leaf together to from the shelter.

The Caterpillar turns into a pupa within its palm shelter. As it forms the pupa, it creates a quantity of white chalky powder. The pupa has a length of about 3 cms. After about two weeks, the butterfly emerges.

Trapezites sp Skipper butterfly


Moth
Photo: Mark Crocker

Possibly Symmomus Skipper. The adult Symmomus Skipper butterfly is brown, with a few white and yellow markings on the wings, wingspan of about 5 cm. Found mainly along the eastern side of mainland Australia as several subspecies, including sommomus in southern Queensland and New South Wales. The species is considered to be endangered.

Trapezites sp A skipper


Skipper
Photo: Robert Whyte

Skippers differ in several important ways from other butterflies. Skippers have antennae clubs hooked backward like a crochet, whilst butterflies have club-like tips to their antennae. Skippers also have generally stockier bodies.

This skipper is on the larval food plant, Lomandra sp.