Tropical Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus oileus) Life History

Egg, 4-25-15

Neonate, 4-30-15

First instar, 5-3-15

Second instar, 5-7-15

Third instar, 5-20-15

Fourth instar, 5-24-15

Fifth instar, 5-27-15

Top view of pupa, 6-8-15

Side view of pupa, 6-8-15

Fresh male Tropical Checkered-Skipper, dorsal view, 6-13-15

Fresh male Tropical Checkered-Skipper, ventral view, 6-13-15

I observed a female Tropical Checkered-Skipper depositing eggs on Threelobe False Mallow, Malvastrum coromandelianum. I confined the female with the host plant. Before long I had numerous eggs, so I released her. Three larvae were successfully raised.

As with many skippers, the caterpillars fashioned nests by folding together leaves of the host plant. They grew rather slowly -- the third instar alone lasted more than ten days -- and pupated after about a month. I had to go out of town just after the caterpillars entered the fifth instar, so I was not able to observe pupation. Fortunately, cuttings of M. coromandelianum keep well  if provided adequate water. I was able to leave the caterpillars with plenty of fresh food, and locate the pupae when I returned from the trip.

Caterpillars of Tropical Checkered-Skippers share their host plant with the larvae of Common Checkered-Skippers (P. communis). It may be possible to distinguish later instars by looking at the brown collar behind the head. The Tropical Checkered-Skippers have several white lines on the collar that Common Checkered-Skippers seem to lack (see the fifth instar picture).

The first adult to emerge was a female that appeared on June 11; another female and the pictured male emerged on June 13. The entire cycle from egg to adult took about seven weeks.

Tropical Checkered-Skipper Page