Spialia galba

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Indian Skipper
Spialia galba by kadavoor.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Hesperiidae
Genus: Spialia
Species: S. galba
Binomial name
Spialia galba
(Fabricius, 1793)[1][2]
  • Hesperia galba Fabricius, 1793
  • Pyrgus superna Moore, [1866]

Spialia galba, commonly known as the Indian Skipper or the Indian Grizzled Skipper, is a hesperiid butterfly which is found in South Asia and parts of Southeast Asia.[3]

Distribution and status[edit]

The butterfly ranges from Sri Lanka, South India to the Shan states in northern Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Hainan.[3][4]

The butterfly is very common in India up to an altitude of 1800m.[5]


  • Spialia galba galba (Pakistan, India, Kashmir, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Ceylon, Thailand)
  • Spialia galba shanta Evans, 1956 (Burma)
  • Spialia galba chenga Evans, 1956 (China: Hainan)


For a key to the terms used see Lepidopteran glossary

Having a wingspan of only 24 to 27mm, Spialia galba is identified by its unique pattern of black and white spots and its small size. The upperside is dark brown to blsck in colour with a light brown gloss and many small white spots. The wings have a chequered fringe. The underside is whitish. Sexes are identical.[6]


When sunny, the butterfly is found flying close to the ground and basking with the wings partly open. The forewing is partly closed while the hindwing is held fully open. It rests with wings closed.[5] It has a swift, twisting but usually short flight. The Indian Skipper visits flowers, preferring those with small flowers such as Tridax procumbens, (a common weed in India) and species of Dicplitera or Bidens. It sleeps on hanging grass blades and the tips of the branches of herbs.[6]



Shiny, light-green, dome-shaped, ridged, fused together. The female lays her eggs anywhere and on any position of the young shoots of its foodplant.[6]


Pale green with a wavy dark green line dorsally.Cylindrical, but thicker in the centre and tapering towards the ends.Body clothed with fine whitish bristles and a line of long white hair on both sides. The head of the butterfly is obscured by dark hair and the jaws are orange-red and black-tipped. Second segment of the early instars is dark-brown and has a golden central bar on the nape. As the caterpillar matures, it develops prominent black-bordered orange markings on the neck. The caterpliiar resides in a folded leaf secured from all sides except the entrance. It feeds in the late evenings and nocturnally.[6]


A thick, cylindrical, greyish-green pupa which tapers towards the abdomen. It is covered with fine dirty-white bristles near the head and eyes.[6]



Cited references[edit]

  1. ^ Card for Spialia galba in LepIndex. Accessed 2 October 2007.
  2. ^ Card for Apostictopterus fuliginosus in LepIndex. Accessed 2 October 2007.
  3. ^ a b Marrku Savela's Website on Lepidoptera Page on genus Spialia .
  4. ^ Evans,W.H.(1932) The Identification of Indian Butterflies, ser no 28.2, pp 347
  5. ^ a b c Haribal, Meena (1992) Butterflies of Sikkim, ser 591 & plate 59, pg 201-202.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Kunte, Krushnamegh. (2000) Butterflies of Peninsular India, ser no 68, pp 203-205.
  7. ^ Kalesh, S & S K Prakash (2007). "Additions ot the larval host plants of butterflies of the Western Ghats, Kerala, Southern India (Rhopalocera, Lepidoptera): Part 1". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 104 (2): 235–238. 

See also[edit]



  • Evans, W.H. (1932) The Identification of Indian Butterflies. 2nd Ed, (i to x, pp454, Plates I to XXXII), Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India.
  • Haribal, Meena. (1992) Butterflies of Sikkim Himalaya and their Natural History (pp 217). Sikkim Nature Conservation Foundation.
  • Kunte, Krushnamegh. (2000) Butterflies of Peninsular India, (i to xviii, pp254, Plates 1 to 32) Universities Press (India) Ltd, Hyderabad (reprint 2006). ISBN 81-7371-354-5


  • Beccaloni, G. W., Scoble, M. J., Robinson, G. S. & Pitkin, B. (Editors). 2003. The Global Lepidoptera Names Index (LepIndex). World Wide Web electronic publication. [1] (accessed 24 September 2007).
  • Savela, Marrku Website on Lepidoptera [2] (accessed 24 September 2007)