Giant skipper

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Giant skippers
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Hesperioidea
Family: Hesperiidae
Subfamily: Megathyminae
J. H. Comstock and A. Comstock, 1895


The giant skippers are butterflies in the disputed subfamily Megathyminae, which is part of the skipper family. Some authorities treat this as a distinct and separate subfamily, but more modern classifications tend to place them within the subfamily Hesperiinae. However, some works, such as the Integrated Taxonomic Information System, still treat is as a valid subfamily.[1] The giant skippers include two tribes, Aegialini and Megathymini.[1] There are three genera and about eighteen species in this subfamily.[2][3][4] These butterflies typically live in the southwest United States and Mexico in desert areas.[2]

The giant skippers are larger than the other members of the family Hesperiidae, but are medium-sized butterflies with thick bodies.[5] They tend to be brown with yellow markings. The antennae are unhooked and some species even possess a short apiculus.[2] Long hairlike scales are present on the upperwings of males.[2] Their flight is fast and rapid.[5] Males are territorial and tend to perch on low vegetation.[5] Adults do not derive sustenance from flowers and rarely feed.[2][5] Males do visit wet sand in order to drink.[2]

The eggs of members of the genera Megathymus and Stallingsia are glued to leaves, while the eggs of Agathymus are dumped into host plant clumps.[2] The caterpillars of the giant skippers bury themselves into the leaf or stem of a plant and feed from within the silk-lined tunnels they create. Pupae are formed in these tunnels.[2]


  1. ^ a b "ITIS Standard Report Page: Megathyminae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Subfamily: Giant-Skippers". Butterflies and Moths of North America. Montana State University. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  3. ^ "ITIS Standard Report Page: Aegialini". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  4. ^ "ITIS Standard Report Page: Megathymini". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  5. ^ a b c d Daniels, Jaret C. (2003). Butterflies of the Carolinas. Cambridge, MN: Adventure Publications, Inc. p. 9. ISBN 1-59193-007-3.