Skippers and Darters - FAMILY HESPERIIDAE

Order Lepidoptera

This page contains pictures and information about Skipper and Darter Butterflies in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Skipper Caterpillar 
Caterpillars in this family are usually with smooth body skin, more or less cylindrical shaped. Their head is large with constricted head. They usually live and feed in concealed environment. They live and pupate in shelter build using silk to draw together the leaves of host plant. 
The butterflies in this family are from small to medium size. Their bodies are large and with relatively small wings. They are usually yellow or white in a dark brown background colour. They fly in a very rapid and jerky style, this is why they call skippers. They are not as colourful as the other four butterfly families.
Most of the butterflies in this family rest with the hindwings open, although a few rest with wings completely closed. Their antenna is usually hooked at the tip.
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Adult lays large and round egg, usually single, on food-plant.  

Brisbane Skipper Butterflies Field Guide:

Following listed all the Skipper Butterflies that we found in the Brisbane area. For other butterflies, please visit our butterflies web site.

Subfamily PYRGINAE - Flats
In this Pyrginae subfamily, butterflies are large and robust. Their wings expanded flat when at rest. Their larvae are usually brightly in colours.

Subfamily TRAPEZITINAE - Ochre

Butterflies in subfamily TRAPEZITINAE have a short and jerky flight. They rest with hindwings partly open. Their larvae feed on a variety of long-leaved plants such as grasses of Poa, Gahnia (Sword-grass), Patersonia and Xerotes. They usually build shelter between two leaves joined with silk.


This skipper subfamily is a group of orange and black medium to small size skipper butterflies. Most of them look similar and difficult to distinguish from one another. They rest with wings held erect. The caterpillar feed on coarse grasses and palms.

Here we would like to thank Don Herbison-Evans for his kindly advices on the identity of some caterpillars and adults in our web site. His Australian Caterpillars web site is our major reference.

Reference and Link:
1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 893.
2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p455.
3. The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia - Michael F Braby, Australian National University, CSIRO 2004. 


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Subfamily PYRGINAE ] Subfamily TRAPEZITINAE ] Subfamily HESPERIINAE ] Un-identified Skippers ]


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Last updated: June 20, 2010.