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14.3: Hylephila phyleus: Fiery Skipper

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

Common Name

  • Fiery Skipper


Hylephila phyleus is a fast darting butterfly. They are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. The Hylephila phyleus females have a larger wingspan than the males. The males are orange and yellow with black spots. The females are dark brown with orange and yellow spots. The caterpillars are a pink and green color, and the head is black. Hylephila phyleus and all other skippers can hold their wings in a triangle shape.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Family: Hesperiidae
  • Genus: Hylephila
  • Species: H. phyleus


The Hylephila phyleus lives in North America, Central America, and South America in open grassy spaces. The type of weather they like is warm or tropical. Hylephila phyleus are common around residential lawns.

Cell Biology

Eukaryotes include plants, animals and fungi. The Hylephila phyleus has eukaryotic cells, just like all other animals do. The eukaryotic cell has a nucleus and many other organelles.

The Hylephila phyleus cells divide in two ways. The cells go through mitosis and meiosis. Mitosis is a process in which a cell divides into two and makes two new cells, each with complete chromosomes from the parent. Meiosis is when a cell divides to makes two new cells that have half of the chromosomes of each parent.


The first important animal trait to evolve was multicellularity. Multicellular organisms are organisms that consist of more than one cell. Multiple cells could do different jobs. Then animals evolved tissues and symmetry. Later the head, segmented body, and digestive system developed.


The Hylephila phyleus were introduced in Hawaii in 1970, the species then migrated northward to Ontario and prince Edward in the east, and to oregon in the west (Scott 1986). Host plants are grasses of several species. Habitats are southern urban lawns and grassy places. Females can have 10 to 11 eggs. They like to eat a variety of grasses in the poaceae family, sugar cane and nectar flowers. Eggs are laid on and around the host plant singly.

Anatomy and Physiology

Butterflies have three main body parts: the head, thorax, and abdomen. They have six legs and compound eyes. Butterflies have an exoskeleton. That means they are protected by a hard outer covering called the exoskeleton. Their blood is colorless and different from the blood of humans. The butterfly goes through distinctive larval, pupal, and adult stages. That is a complete metamorphosis.


Hylephila phyleus are fast butterflies. Hylephila phyleus are skilled in communicating. Butterflies talk to each other with sound and actions. Chemicals and colors define sex and species. Chemicals are used by butterflies to attract each other. Certain colors and chemicals attract butterflies of the other sex. The larvae rolls into a leaf and hangs upside down, and forms a cocoon, which forms the butterfly. During mating, the male butterfly injects a spermatophore, a packet with sperm and nutrients for eggs. The female stores her eggs in a “bursa” until she lays them. The female is very protective of the eggs.




  • Isabella Reyes
  • Arianna Taba
  • Jackson D. Sipe

Supervising Faculty

  • Amy Huff Shah


  • Museum School, San Diego, California


  • Published prior to review.

Edit History

  • Created: April 5, 2013
  • Version 1.0 submitted to CK-12: July 11, 2013
  • CK-12 edits: in progress


  • Middle School (grades 6-8)

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Date Created:
Aug 15, 2012
Last Modified:
Jan 30, 2016
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