Brazilian Skipper (Calpodes ethlius) (Stoll, [1782])

Diagnosis: A very large skipper with pointed forewings (wingspan: 39 to 53 mm), dark brown above and reddish brown beneath. There are several translucent areas on the forewing, and three or four cream-coloured spots on the hindwing.

Range: This tropical skipper is resident in Central and South America, Texas, the Gulf coast and Florida, migrating regularly north as far as Ohio and New York, and once into Canada (at Point Pelee, Ontario).



Specimen collection data


Similar Species: None in Canada.

Early Stages: The larvae are pale green with a whitish subdorsal line, and live in leaf-nests, feeding mostly after dark. Foodplants are cannas (Cannaceae), usually red-flowered species.

Abundance: The Brazilian Skipper builds up in numbers throughout the summer in most of its U.S. range.

Flight Season: The Brazilian Skipper flies all year in the extreme southern U.S., but only from May to November farther north. Most years it migrates north, reaching the northern states in September and October.

Habits: Adults frequent natural areas in the south and also city gardens, since some cannas are popular garden plants. This and the next species are among the few skippers that regularly take part in long-distance mass-migration flights; ethlius has reached Bermuda and the Galapagos Islands and become a resident species at both places.

Remarks: The only Canadian record is a fresh specimen observed on Spotted Knapweed at Point Pelee, Ontario, on 21 September 1991 by Sid Daniels, Bob Curry, and Alan Wormington (Wormington, 1992a).

© 2002. This material is reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.