August 8, 2009 - male
The Sleepy Orange Skipper butterfly has a wing span of 2-1/8 to 3 inches.
To identify this small butterfly, look for the forewing to have a large yellow splotch surrounded by black (male). The eye does not touch the black border. The female is similar to the male, but is duller, and has more diffuse black areas (below). There are two seasonal forms. The underside hindwing of wet season "summer" form is yellow; that of the dry winter season form is mottled with black and pink.
The males patrol open areas for females. Eggs are laid on the undersides of terminal leaves of host plants. The adults overwinter in reproductive arrest. Three broods are produced in the southern states from May-June, July-August, and September-April.
The caterpillar feeds on the leaves of any plant of the pea family, including alfalfa, clover, and indigo. The adult butterfly nectars on lantana, coreopsis, houstonia and verbena. Its preferred habitat is dry open areas such as short-grass prairie hills, scrub oak groves and open woodlands.