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Least skipper facts for kids

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Least skipper
Two least skippers mating
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Ancyloxypha numitor
(Fabricius, 1793)
Ancyloxypha numitor range map.PNG
Least Skipper2
upper side of the wings
Least Skipper
underside of the wings

The least skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor) is a butterfly in the family Hesperiidae. It is native to North America. They have a weak, bouncy flight.

The least skipper can be found in damp or wet habitats with tall grasses. In the northern part of the its range, adults may be seen from May to September. In the southern part of its range, adults can be found from February to December. It may be seen all year in southern Florida.


The least skipper has rounded wings and a skinny body. Their antennae are checkered and have no hooks. Male least skipper do not have stigmata. The upper side of the top wing is dark brown, sometimes having orange on it. The bottom wing is orange with a dark brown border around it. The underside of the wings is bright orange. The bottom wing's veins are a whitish color. Its wingspan (length of the wings) is ¾ to 1 inch.

Life cycle

Males find females by looking for them in tall grasses. Females lay their eggs one at a time on the caterpillar's host plant (the plant that the caterpillar feeds on). The eggs are pale yellow. The caterpillar makes a nest of grass and silk. The caterpillar is green. It has four pairs of white wax glands on the abdomen near the underside. The head is brown or tan. It is usually darker in the center. The collar (the area between where the head and the body connect) has a white stripe and a black stripe. The chrysalis is a cream color and has brown markings. The caterpillar will hibernate in the winter. The least skipper has 2-4 broods each year.

Host plants

Here is a list of host plants that the least skipper caterpillar feeds on:

  • cogongrass, Imperata sp.
  • rice cutgrass, Leersia oryzoides
  • cultivated rice, Oryza sativa
  • Panicum sp.
  • bluegrass, Poa sp.
  • Setaria sp.
  • cordgrass, Spartina sp.
  • marsh millet, Zizaniopsis miliacea

Similar species

There are some species of butterflies that are similar to the least skipper. They are the European skipper (Thymelicus lineola), the tropical least skipper (Ancyloxypha arene), the orange skipperling (Copaeodes aurantiaeca), and the southern skipperling (Copaeodes minima).

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