Autochton cellus

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Golden banded skipper
Autochton cellus.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Hesperiidae
Genus: Autochton
Species: A cellus
Binomial name
Autochton cellus
(Boisduval & LeConte, 1837)

Autochton cellus, the golden banded-skipper, is a North and Central American butterfly in the family Hesperiidae. There are two populations, one in the eastern United States and the other in the southwestern United States and Mexico.[1] The eastern population is rare and local and uses only one host plant, hog peanut (Amphicarpa bracteata). The southwestern population is uncommon to common and uses more than one host plant (see host plant list).[2][3] The golden banded-skipper is most active mid-morning and late afternoon. Their flight is sluggish and low to the ground, compared to closely related species.[1]

Description[edit]

The upperside of the wings are chocolate brown with a golden median band on the forewing. The hindwing has a checkered fringe. The underside of the wings are very similar to the upperside.[2] Its wingspan measures 32 to 44 millimetres (1.25 to 1.75 in).[3]

Similar species[edit]

The golden banded-skipper has many similar species in its range such as the Sonoran banded-skipper (Autochton pseudocellus), the Sierra Madre banded-skipper (Autochton siermadror), the Chisos banded-skipper (Autochton cincta), the dark-fringed banded-skipper (Autochton vectolucis), the spiky banded-skipper (Autochton neis), the two-spotted banded-skipper (Autochton bipunctatus), the sharp banded-skipper (Autochton zarex), and the narrow banded-skipper (Autochton longipennis).[4]

Habitat[edit]

In the east this butterfly prefers moist, steep woodlands while in the southwest, it favors canyon riparian habitat. It appears to be declining in the east where it has lost habitat around Washington, D.C., and around West Virginia.[1][3]

Flight[edit]

The golden banded-skipper flies in the east from June to August, from February to September in Florida, and in the southwest, from mid-June to early September in Arizona.[1][3]

Life cycle[edit]

Golden banded-skippers have a strange mix of patrolling and perching in their courtship. Females lay their eggs on the underside of host plant leaves in clusters of two to nine in a row.[1] The egg is yellow but turns tan just before hatching. The larva makes a nest out of leaves, attaching them together with silk. It comes out of its nest at night to feed.[5] The larva is pine green with small yellow spots and has a yellow lateral stripe. The black head has two facial orange spots and a reddish collar.[6] The pupa is dark brown with a greenish hue. It overwinters as a pupa.[5] The golden banded-skipper has one to three broods per year.[1][2]

Host plants[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Rich Cech and Guy Tudor (2005). Butterflies of the East Coast. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. ISBN 0-691-09055-6
  2. ^ a b c Jim P. Brock and Kenn Kaufman (2003). Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin, New York, NY. ISBN 0-618-15312-8
  3. ^ a b c d e Bob Stewart, Priscilla Brodkin and Hank Brodkin (2001). Butterflies of Arizona. West Coast Lady Press. ISBN 0-9663072-1-6
  4. ^ Jeffrey Glassberg (2007). A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of Mexico and Central America. Sunstreak Books Inc. ISBN 978-1-4243-0915-3
  5. ^ a b c James A. Scott (1986). The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA. ISBN 0-8047-2013-4
  6. ^ Thomas J. Allen, Jim P. Brock and Jeffrey Glassberg (2005). Caterpillars in the Field and Garden. Oxford University Press, Oxford, NY. ISBN 0-19-514987-4