Evans' Skipper (Panoquina evansi) life history
Evans' Skipper (Panoquina evansi) Life History

Developing egg, 10-31-20

Neonate, 11-1-20

First instar, 11-3-20

Second instar, 11-5-20

Third instar, 11-7-20

Fourth instar, 11-12-20

Fifth instar, 11-15-20

Pupa, 11-25-20

Fresh adult Evans' Skipper (individual lacks purple sheen), ventral view, 11-29-20

I was given the eggs of this study by Richard Boscoe, who through much effort determined that the native LRGV host for Evans' Skipper is Sabal Palm (Sabal mexicana). I unwittingly collected some Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta) leaves to feed; fortunately, these were perfectly acceptable to the caterpillars.

The eggs when deposited were creamy white, but I did not receive them in time to photograph that state. Three caterpillars emerged from the half-dozen eggs I received, and all were reared to maturity.

I was very interested to observe that the caterpillar's head capsule was unique in each stage: it started out brown, the middle instars had progressively lighter brown stripes, and during the final instar it was an unmarked green. By contrast, the body (green once feeding commenced) became more and more strongly marked with stripes as development advanced.

The caterpillars rested between ribs of the palm leaf when not feeding, and also pupated there. When the time grew near for a molt, they would sew a couple of silk strands across the ribs above their head, as can be seen in the photo of the third instar. Building this type of "shelter" may be a characteristic of the genus, as I have also observed similar behavior in Purple-washed Skippers.

The journey from egg to adult took approximately one month. I was quite surprised when the adult pictured here emerged: except for size, it more closely resembled a Purple-washed Skipper than Evans' Skipper. The white band was narrow and it lacked the purple sheen Evans' Skippers are known for. That may mean large "Purple-washed" Skippers might sometimes merit a second look!

Evans' Skipper Page