Guava Skipper (Phocides polybius) life history
Guava Skipper (Phocides polybius) Life History

Egg, 8-12-10

Caterpillar on first day, 8-15-10

Below leaf shelter, 8-17-10

Yellow stripes appear, 8-19-10

False eye spots become visible, 8-21-10

Gorgeous middle instar, 8-28-10

Late instars white, often splotchy, 9-8-10

Immediately sewing leaves back together after I opened shelter, 9-9-10


Mature caterpillar, 9-16-10

Chrysalis, 9-17-10

Fresh adult Guava Skipper, ventral, 9-26-10

Fresh adult Guava Skipper, dorsal, 9-26-10

In the world of lepidoptera, it's not common to find a species where all stages have bold and beautiful colors. Guava Skippers are one of the exceptions. The eggs are a deep purple, the early instar caterpillars a bright red color, and the adults are spectacular in iridescent blue hues.

Cat Traylor provided me with three eggs for this study. The caterpillars emerged on August 15, and immediately cut out leaf shelters such as the one in the 8-17 picture. As the caterpillars grew bigger they would sew leaves together to form their shelters. It seemed there was a significant change of appearance in almost every instar: first yellow stripes appeared, then eye spots that soon seemed to glow, and then in the last instars the purple and yellow caterpillar turned white!

The caterpillars seemed to grow at a good pace, but they took a full month to mature. This resulted in mature caterpillars that seemed unusually large for the size of skipper that would emerge - the last instars were quite chunky. The adults emerged 11-12 days after pupation began.

Many thanks to Cat Traylor for providing the eggs and also cuttings from her Guava tree.

Guava Skipper Page