Butterfly Atlas Species Accounts

Butterfly Atlas data collected from 1986-1990

Brazilian Skipper

Calpodes ethlius

Named

Stoll,1782

Identification

Wingspan 1 3/4 - 2 1/4". Unmistakable. Large, with pointed forewings and prominent translucent spots on both wings, above and below; spots larger on forewings. Brown above, lighter at base of wings. Tinged reddish below, with buffy wing fringes, and small, cream-colored spots on hindwing.

Distribution

Resident in southern Florida and southern Texas, south through Central America to Argentina; also, West Indies and Galapagos. Ranges north on occasion as far as Nevada, Illinois, and Massachusetts. In New England, very rare vagrant to southern coast.

Status in Massachusetts

Very rare vagrant in Massachusetts; known from specimens collected at Nantucket and New Bedford in September 1937 (Kimball and Jones, 1943). The Brazilian Skipper is a powerful flier, capable of traveling great distances. Individuals in the Northeast may be the result of long distance flights or possibly are transported to the area as egg, larva, or chrysalis on the cultivated Cannas that serve as the larval food source.

Flight Period in Massachusetts

Flies throughout the year in southern Florida. Most likely in New England in late summer-early fall. Documented flight dates northward are 7 September to 9 October.

Larval Food Plants

Host plants are Cannas, including Canna flaccida and C. indica.

Adult Food Sources

Information for this species in Massachusetts is currently unavailable.

Habitat

Residential areas and gardens.

Life Cycle

Species does not reproduce in Massachusetts.

Account Author

Richard K. Walton

Additional Information

Read more on this species at the North American Butterfly Association.