Hoary Edge Skipper: 19 Facts You Won't Believe!


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The hoary edge skipper (Achalarus lyciades) is a butterfly species belonging to the Eudaminae subfamily. Their distribution is mostly seen from the north to the south of the eastern USA. A rare species to sight, it may often be confused with a moth because of its brown-colored body. However, the white lining running along its forewing and hindwing on the underside makes it easy to identify. This butterfly is often confused with the silver-spotted skipper which lacks the white lining. The hoary edge resides near nectar-rich leguminous or pea plants for obtaining food and is seen in abundance during the mating months, especially in June. Their life cycle is similar to other butterflies, starting with the initial larval stage, followed by the green caterpillar stage and finally maturing into a full-fledged beautiful butterfly.

Want to dig deep into the life of a hoary edge skipper? Read on to find more exciting details about this butterfly species. You can also check out interesting hackberry emperor facts and fly facts here on Kidadl.

Hoary Edge Skipper Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a hoary edge skipper?

The hoary edge skipper is a rare butterfly species found in the countries of the eastern USA.

What class of animal does a hoary edge skipper belong to?

The hoary edge (Achalarus lyciades) belongs to the class of Insecta. These butterfly species belong to the family of the Hesperiidae and Achalarus genus.

How many hoary edge skippers are there in the world?

Although the exact number of the hoary edge skipper butterfly species is not known, it can be ascertained that their earlier abundance is now declining rapidly for several anthropogenic reasons.

Where does a hoary edge skipper live?

The distribution of the hoary edge skipper (Achalarus lyciades) is found across the countries of the eastern USA like Wisconsin, Massachusettes, Alabama, Kentucky, Florida, Arkansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. Some sightings are also found in parts of Canada and Mexico.

What is a hoary edge skipper's habitat?

The sightings of the hoary edge skipper are found in places like sunny and dry uplands, open sandy woodlands, woodland roadside, and edges of open forests.

Who does a hoary edge skipper live with?

The hoary edge skipper is a loner butterfly species, disliking much interaction with fellow butterflies, animals or humans. They wander around freely on warm sunny days and you can spot up to five butterflies flying in the vicinity. During the breeding period, the males are seen to wander near the females to mate in their habitat range.

How long does a hoary edge skipper live?

The exact lifespan of the Lyciades is not known.

How do they reproduce?

After the male and female hoary edge skipper mates in the warm and sunny breeding season, the females lay off-white-colored eggs that are laid beneath leaves of woody plants above the sandy soil. The peak mating season ranges between May to June end or July with the maximum sightings seen in June. Once the eggs hatch, larvae of the hoary edge skipper come out that turn into a green caterpillar before becoming mature enough to grow wings and take a flight.

What is their conservation status?

At present, this butterfly species is not listed by the IUCN as of yet. But proper research of the hoary edge should be done at the earliest to conserve this species in its short habitat range.

Hoary Edge Skipper Fun Facts

What does a hoary edge skipper look like?

The hoary edge (Achalarus lyciades) is a small butterfly species with brown-colored wings on either side. While the forewing is entirely brown in color with patches of yellow markings, the hind wing has blotches of grayish-white color. It has a mottled texture with tiny hairs running across its body, with a grayish-white lining at the edge of each wing. Using their triangular forewing, they display rapid flight on air. The hoary edge is often compared to a silver-spotted skipper, that has bigger wings and whose sightings are more common in the same range of habitat.

Common things that kids should know about the hoary edge skipper.

How cute are they?

Although these butterflies are not seen in abundance, whenever spotted they look extremely adorable in their flight. The white lining at the edge of their mottled brown wing amplifies their beauty. The young green caterpillar, often found underneath the leaves, look very cute because of their small size and wobbly crawling.

How do they communicate?

Both the hoary edge skipper caterpillar and butterfly cannot communicate verbally. Only during the time of breeding, the males fly with their wings around the females to attract them.

How big is a hoary edge skipper?

As they are butterfly species, their body size is estimated by measuring each wing on either side. So the length of their wingspan is about 1.8-1.9 in (4.5-4.9 cm). They are three times bigger than a moth and 10 times smaller than a bat.

How fast can a hoary edge skipper move?

The exact flight speed of this butterfly species (Achalarus lyciades) is not known. It may be ascertained that they are fast flyers as seen from their movement to Wisconsin from the far south. Owing to their triangular-shaped forewing, they travel rapidly covering great distances.

How much does a hoary edge skipper weigh?

The exact weight of the hoary edge is not known. Their weight is almost negligible as the wings are very lightweight.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names allotted to the male and female hoary edge skipper butterflies.

What would you call a baby hoary edge skipper?

The baby hoary edge skipper is called a larva and in its early life, it stays as a hoary edge skipper moth caterpillar without wings.

What do they eat?

The hoary edge skipper (Achalarus lyciades) is a herbivorous species dependent on plant nectar for food. All throughout its distribution, it is seen to feed on a few host plants like Tick Trefoils and bush clovers. As most of their sightings are found in places where ample sunlight is available, they are seen in flight in search of nectar-rich plants like legumes or the ones from the pea family.

Are they poisonous?

The hoary edge (Achalarus lyciades) is not a poisonous butterfly. Since it obtains nectar from certain host plants like tick trefoils and others, it poses no threat to any insect, animal or humans. Even if it touches the human skin, one will face no irritation at all.

Would they make a good pet?

The sightings of this butterfly are rare even in its own habitat range, hence it is difficult to catch. Also, it is best to let them survive in the wilderness than to cage them at homes. Additionally, they will not be able to survive well inside the dark and cool temperatures of the house as they prefer living in the open edges of forests where sunshine in abundance keeps away the dark.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

The hoary edge skippers are territorial butterflies, who are possessive enough to shoo away any intruders into their territory.

They always stay at least 6 ft (1.8 m) above the ground, except for when they need to sip in the soil moisture to quench their thirst.

After a long flight in search of nectar or mate, these diurnal Lyciades come back to their own perch by the sunset.

Why are they called hoary edge skippers?

The hoary edge skipper, a butterfly species belonging to the subfamily of Eudaminae, got its name from the grayish-white color present on the underside of each wing. Since the sightings of their flight are found only at the edges of forests and sunny woodlands, they have been named accordingly.

What is the life cycle of a hoary edge skipper?

The hoary edge skippers take the form of larvae right after hatching out of the eggs. Soon after a few days, hoary edge skipper caterpillars form out of the larvae. The caterpillar is green in color with dark stripes on its underside. Thereafter the caterpillars take the form of butterflies as soon as the wings develop. Unlike the silver-spotted skipper, the hoary edges are smaller in size and have white markings on their hindwing.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including the viceroy butterfly and red admiral butterfly.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable butterfly coloring pages.

Second image by Judy Gallagher.

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