Laviana White-Skipper (Heliopetes laviana) life history
Laviana White-Skipper (Heliopetes laviana) Life History

Egg, 10-18-14

Hatchling, 10-22-14

First instar, 10-24-14

Second instar, 10-27-14

Third instar, 11-1-14

Fourth instar, 11-10-14

Fifth instar, 12-1-14

Fifth instar, 12-13-14

Fresh adult Laviana White-Skipper, dorsum, 1-4-15

Fresh adult Laviana White-Skipper, ventrum, 1-4-15

In October, 2014, I observed a female Laviana White-Skipper ovipositing on Abutilon trisulcatum. I collected two eggs intentionally, and later discovered I had also collected an additional first-instar caterpillar.

The eggs eclosed after four days. At all stages the larvae made nests by folding over part of a leaf. Beginning with the third instar, the caterpillars began to show the pale color characteristic of White-Skippers. Lavianas are a bit variable in this regard; I have seen caterpillars that were whiter or bluer than those pictured at the right. They might be found on some of the same hosts as the similar Turk's Cap White-Skipper; larvae of these two species can be distinguished by the collar behind the head.  The collar is brown from front to back on the Turk's Cap White-Skipper caterpillars, while those of Laviana White-Skippers have a black edging on the front and back sides of the collar (see the fifth-instar photo).


Face of Laviana White-Skipper

The caterpillars grew at a pretty good pace until they entered the fourth instar. After that progress slowed drastically, and it took another full month before they pupated. Cooler weather and a food supply of deteriorating quality may have been factors affecting growth. It took about two and a half months for these skippers to complete the cycle from egg to adult.

Laviana White-Skipper Page