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]
At Talakona forest, in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, India

Spialia galba, the Indian skipper or 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 1800 m.[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)


At Talakona forest, in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, India
For a key to the terms used, see Glossary of entomology terms.

Having a wingspan of only 24 to 27 mm, Spialia galba is identified by its unique pattern of black and white spots and its small size. The upperside is dark brown to black 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]

Life history[edit]


The egg is shiny, light green, dome shaped, ridged and fused together. The female lays her eggs anywhere and on any position of the young shoots of its food plant.[6]


The caterpillar is pale green with a wavy dark green line dorsally. It is cylindrical, but thicker in the centre and tapering towards the ends. The body is 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. The 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 caterpillar resides in a folded leaf secured from all sides except the entrance. It feeds in the late evenings and nocturnally.[6]


It has 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]

Food plants[edit]


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 Markku Savela's website on Lepidoptera Page on genus Spialia .
  4. ^ Evans, W.H. (1932). The Identification of Indian Butterflies (2nd ed.). Mumbai, India: Bombay Natural History Society. p. 347, ser no 28.2. 
  5. ^ a b c Haribal, Meena (1992). The Butterflies of Sikkim Himalaya and Their Natural History. Gangtok, Sikkim, India: Sikkim Nature Conservation Foundation. pp. 201–202, ser 591 & plate 59. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Kunte, Krushnamegh (2000). Butterflies of Peninsular India. India, A Lifescape. Hyderabad, India: Universities Press. pp. 203–205, ser no 68. ISBN 978-8173713545. 
  7. ^ Kalesh, S & S K Prakash (2007). "Additions of the larval host plants of butterflies of the Western Ghats, Kerala, Southern India (Rhopalocera, Lepidoptera): Part 1". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 104 (2): 235–238. 

See also[edit]