Have you spotted this skipper?

July 16, 2020 10:49 AM
Blog Post

I was recently asked about an alien-looking caterpillar from central Nebraska. I occasionally see silver-spotted caterpillars in Iowa and wondered if you were seeing any in soybean?

The caterpillars are definitely a unique species because of the body coloration! The bodies are yellow-green in color and the head is brownish red. The caterpillars can make webbed nests similar to thistle caterpillar. They like to feed on locust trees, legumes, and wisteria.

silver-spotted skipper caterpillar.
Silver-spotted skipper caterpillar. Photo by Randy Anderson.

The adults have distinctive silvery markings on the wing edges. The wings are chocolately brown with banding, and about 2.5 inches wide. Likely there is one generation in Iowa/Nebraska. The adults like to feed on milkweed, red clover, and thistles.

silver-spotted skipper.
Silver-spotted skipper. Photo by David Cappaert, www.ipmimages.org.

Author: 

Erin Hodgson Professor

Dr. Erin Hodgson started working in the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University in 2009. She is an associate professor with extension and research responsibilities in corn and soybeans. She has a general background in integrated pest management (IPM) for field crops. Dr. Hodgson's curre...