Long-tailed skipper Urbanus proteus, copyright Andreas Kay.

Belongs within: Obtectomera.
Contains: Hasora, Pyrginae, Toxidia, Hesperilla, Trapezites, Hesperiinae.

The Hesperiidae, skippers, are a group of butterfly-like Lepidoptera with an erratic, quick flight. They have their antennal bases spaced relatively far apart and the antennal club usually has a small apical hook. Many skippers are dully coloured and species may be very difficult to distinguish. Several subfamilies are currently recognised, including the Megathyminae, giant skippers, of arid regions of North America that have sometimes been recognised as a distinct family. The Trapezitinae of Australasia are relatively small, stout-bodied skippers whose larvae feed on monocotyledons such as grasses or sedges. The Coeliadinae, awls, are relatively large, robust hesperiids found in the Afrotropical, Oriental and Australian regions whose larvae feed on dicotyledons, particularly Leguminosae (Braby 2000).

Characters (from Braby 2000): Adults small to medium-sized, head broad, body stout, wings relatively short, usually sombre brown but sometimes brightly coloured; antennae widely separated at base, apiculus of club curved or sharply bent with tip blunt or pointed; fore wing with five branches on radial vein, all arising separately from cell, and one anal vein; hind wing with humeral vein usually present, two anal veins, tornus usually rounded or sometimes slightly produced but rarely tailed; both sexes with six normal functional legs, tarsi with a pair of apical claws; fore tibia with epiphysis on inner side. Egg hemispherical or dome-shaped, smooth but often with series of longitudinal ribs. Final instar larva cylindrical, tapering at each end, finely spinulose with numerous secondary setae; head comparatively large, larger than prothorax; osmeterium absent; crochets of prolegs in a circle; anal comb usually present. Pupa usually concealed inside larval shelter, attached by cremaster and sometimes also by central girdle.

<==Hesperiidae [Hesperioidea]
    |--Urbanus [Eudamiinae] KP19
    |    |--U. dorantes (Stoll 1791) FS54
    |    |--U. eurycles (Latreille 1723) FS54
    |    |    |--U. e. eurycles FS54
    |    |    `--U. e. latipennis (Marille & Vuillot 1891) FS54
    |    |--U. gracilicauda (Plötz 1880) FS54
    |    |--U. proteus (Linnaeus 1758) FS54
    |    `--U. undulatus (Hewitson 1867) FS54
    `--+--Megathymus [Megathyminae, Megathymidae] KP19
       |    `--M. yuccae KP19
       `--Hesperiinae KP19

Hesperiidae incertae sedis:
  Phareas Westwood 1852 [=Phareus (l. c.) non Simon 1879] K03
  Epargyreus exadeus (Cramer 1782) S55
  Thymele fulminans Herrich-Schäffer 1869 FS54
  Autochton FS54
    |--A. aunus (Fabricius 1781) FS54
    |--A. cincta Herrich-Schäffer & Plötz 1882 FS54
    `--A. subalbatus (Plötz 1882) FS54
  Nascus phocus (Cramer 1779) S55
  Cogia calchas (Herrich-Schäffer 1869) FS54
  Achalarus toxeus (Plötz 1882) FS54
  Spathilepia clonius (Cramer 1779) FS54
  Phanus vitreus (Cramer 1782) S55
  Pellicia S55
    |--P. bromias (Godman & Salvin 1894) FS54
    `--P. polyctor (Prittwitz 1868) S55
  Mylon S55
    |--M. brasilicola (Strand 1920) S55
    `--M. lassia (Hewitson 1868) FS54
  Antigonus erosus (Hübner 1820) FS54
  Pholisora FS54
    |--P. azteca Scudder 1871 FS54
    `--P. orsines (Godman & Salvin 1896) FS54
  Copaeodes aurantiaca (Hewitson 1868) FS54
  Hylephila phylaeus (Drury 1770) FS54
  Polites athenion (Hübnewr 1816) FS54
  Poanes melane (Edwards 1869) FS54
  Atrytone FS54
    |--A. dion C37
    |    |--A. d. dion C37
    |    `--A. d. alabamae C37
    `--A. gala Godman & Salvin 1900 FS54
  Calpodes ethlius (Cramer 1782) FS54
  Panoquina vala (Mabille 1891) FS54
  Cobalus subcordata FS54
  Lerodea edata FS54
  Perichares corydon (Fabricius 1775) FS54
  Pyrrhopyge GE05 [Pyrrhopyginae NC91]
    |--P. creon GE05
    `--P. josephina Draudt 1921 S55
  Mysoria thasus (Cramer 1782) S55
  Jemadia suzetta Mabille & Boullet 1908 S55
  Goniurus S55
    |--G. decurtatus Herrich-Schäffer 1869 S55
    |--G. eurycles Latreille 1823 S55
    |--G. leucogramma Mabille 1888 S55
    `--G. undulatus Hewitson 1867 S55
  Chioides catillus (Cramer 1782) S55
  Telegonus S55
    |--T. creteus (Cramer 1782) S55
    `--T. mephitis Hewitson 1876 S55
  Paches loxus (Westwood & Hewitson 1852) S55
  Eudamidas ozema (Butler 1870) S55
  Ebrietas infanda (Butler 1877) S55
  Heliopetes S55
    |--H. alana (Reakirt 1868) S55
    `--H. arsalte (Linnaeus 1758) S55
  Thymelicus S55
    |--T. athenion (Hübner 1816) S55
    `--T. lineolus Ochsenheimer 1808 B08
  Carystus ebusa (Cramer 1782) S55
  Pyrrhopygopsis cleanthes (Latreille 1823) S55
  Elbella etna GE05
  Pamphilites abdita GE05
  Erionota thrax MHG04, VHK02
  Syrichthus P01
    |--S. alveus [incl. S. alveus var. onopordi] P01
    `--S. malvae P01
  Carterocephalus P01
    |--C. palaemon I92
    |    |--C. p. palaemon I92
    |    `--C. p. satakei (Matsumura 1919) I92
    `--C. silvius P01
  Parosmodes D01
    |--P. icteria B01a
    `--P. numa Druce 1901 D01
  Acleros B01a
    |--A. mackenii B01a
    `--A. placidus B01a
  Andronymus philander B01a
  Kedestes wallengrenii B01a
  Baoris lugens B01a
  Ceratrichia B01a
    |--C. punctulata B01a
    `--C. stellata B01a
  Eretis lugens B01b
  Gomalia elma B01b
  Cyclopides quadrisignata B01b
  Padraona zeno B01b
  Gegenes letterstedti B01b
  Rhopalocampta forestan B01b
  Lerema KP19
  Protopyrginae B00
  Heteropterinae B00
  Coeliadinae J03
    |--Choaspes J03
    |--Hasora B00
    |--Allora Waterhouse & Lyell 1914 B00
    |    |--A. doleschallii (Felder 1860) B00
    |    `--A. major (Rothschild 1915) B00
    `--Badamia Moore 1881 B00
         |--B. atrox (Butler 1877) B00
         |    |--B. a. atrox PP02
         |    `--B. a. subflava PP02
         `--B. exclamationis (Fabricius 1775) B12
  Pyrginae J03
  Trapezitinae J03
    |--Toxidia B00
    |--Hesperilla NC91
    |--Trapezites B00
    |--Felicina Waterhouse 1932 B00
    |--Hewitsoniella Shepard 1931 B00
    |--Rachelia Hemming 1964 B00
    |    `--R. extrusus (Felder & Felder 1867) B00
    |--Pasma Waterhouse 1932 B00
    |    `--P. tasmanicus (Miskin 1889) B00
    |--Dispar Waterhouse & Lyell 1914 B00
    |    `--D. compacta (Butler 1882) B00
    |--Proeidosa Atkins 1973 B00
    |    `--P. polysema (Lower 1908) B12
    |--Signeta Waterhouse & Lyell 1914 B00
    |    |--S. flammeata (Butler 1882) B00
    |    `--S. tymbophora (Meyrick & Lower 1902) B00
    |--Croitana Waterhouse 1932 B00
    |    |--C. aestiva Edwards 1979 B00
    |    |--C. arenaria Edwards 1979 B00
    |    `--C. croites (Hewitson 1874) [incl. C. croites pindar (Waterhouse 1932)] B00
    |--Neohesperilla Waterhouse & Lyell 1914 B00
    |    |--N. croceus (Miskin 1889) B00
    |    |--N. senta (Miskin 1891) B00
    |    |--N. xanthomera (Meyrick & Lower 1902) B00
    |    `--N. xiphiphora (Lower 1911) B00
    |--Oreisplanus Waterhouse & Lyell 1914 B00
    |    |--O. munionga (Olliff 1890) B00
    |    |    |--O. m. munionga B00
    |    |    `--O. m. larana Couchman 1962 B00
    |    `--O. perornata (Kirby 1893) B00
    |--Herimosa Atkins 1994 B00
    |    `--H. albovenata (Waterhouse 1940) [=Anisynta albovenata] B00
    |         |--H. a. albovenata B00
    |         |--H. a. fuscata (Parson 1965) B00
    |         `--H. a. weemala (Couchman 1954) B00
    |--Mesodina Meyrick 1901 B00
    |    |--M. aeluropis Meyrick 1901 B00
    |    |--M. cyanophracta Lower 1911 B00
    |    |--M. gracillima Edwards 1987 B00
    |    |--M. halyzia (Hewitson 1868) B00
    |    `--M. hayi Edwards & Graham 1995 B00
    |--Motasingha Watson 1893 B00
    |    |--M. dirphia (Hewitson 1868) B00
    |    |--M. dominula P27
    |    `--M. trimaculata (Tepper 1882) B00
    |         |--M. t. trimaculata B00
    |         |--M. t. dilata Waterhouse 1932 [incl. M. trimaculata dea Waterhouse 1933] B00
    |         `--M. t. occidentalis Moulds & Atkins 1986 B00
    |--Antipodia Atkins 1984 B00
    |    |--A. atralba (Tepper 1882) B00
    |    |--A. chaostola (Meyrick 1888) [=Hesperilla chaostola] B00
    |    |    |--A. c. chaostola B00
    |    |    |--A. c. chares (Waterhouse 1933) B00
    |    |    `--A. c. leucophaea (Couchman 1946) B00
    |    `--A. dactyliota (Meyrick 1888) [=A. atralba dactyliota] B00
    |         |--A. d. dactyliota B00
    |         `--A. d. nila (Waterhouse 1932) B00
    `--Anisynta Lower 1911 B00
         |--A. cynone (Hewitson 1874) B00
         |    |--A. c. cynone (see below for synonymy) B00
         |    `--A. c. gunneda Couchman 1954 B00
         |--A. dominula (Plötz 1884) B00
         |    |--A. d. dominula (see below for synonymy) B00
         |    `--A. d. pria (Waterhouse 1932) B00
         |--A. monticolae (Olliff 1890) B00
         |--A. sphenosema (Meyrick & Lower 1902) B00
         `--A. tillyardi Waterhouse & Lyell 1912 B00

Anisynta cynone cynone [incl. A. cynone gracilis (Tepper 1882), A. cynone grisea Waterhouse 1932] B00

Anisynta dominula dominula [incl. A. dominula drachmophora (Meyrick 1885), A. dominula draco Waterhouse 1938, A. dominula dyris Waterhouse 1938] B00

*Type species of generic name indicated


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[B00] Braby, M. F. 2000. Butterflies of Australia: their identification, biology and distribution vol. 1. CSIRO Publishing: Collingwood (Victoria).

[B12] Braby, M. F. 2012. The butterflies of El Questro Wilderness Park, with remarks on the taxonomy of the Kimberley fauna, Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 27 (2): 161–175.

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[B01b] Butler, A. G. 1901b. An account of a collection of butterflies obtained by Lord Delamere, chiefly at Munisu, near Mount Kenya. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, series 7, 7: 197–203.

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[D01] Druce, H. 1901. Descriptions of some new species of Lepidoptera from east Africa and tropical America. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, series 7, 7: 432–444.

[FS54] Franz, E., & H. Schröder. 1954. Tagfalter (Lep. Rhopalocera) aus El Salvador. Senckenbergiana Biologica 35: 75–87.

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[KP19] Kawahara, A. Y., D. Plotkin, M. Espeland, K. Meusemann, E. F. A. Toussaint, A. Donath, F. Gimnich, P. B. Frandsen, A. Zwick, M. dos Reis, J. R. Barber, R. S. Peters, S. Liu, X. Zhou, C. Mayer, L. Podsiadlowski, C. Storer, J. E. Yack, B. Misof & J. W. Breinholt. 2019. Phylogenomics reveals the evolutionary timing and pattern of butterflies and moths. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 116 (45): 22657–22663.

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[MHG04] Maynard, G. V., J. G. Hamilton & J. F. Grimshaw. 2004. Quarantine—phytosanitary, sanitary and incursion management: an Australian entomological perspective. Australian Journal of Entomology 43 (3): 318–328.

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[PP02] Patrick, B., & H. Patrick. 2002. Butterflies of Fiji. Weta 24: 5–12.

[P01] Pável, J. 1901. Lepkék [Lepidopteren]. In: Horváth, G. (ed.) Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazása [Dritte Asiatische Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] vol. 2. Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazásának Állattani Eredményei [Zoologische Ergebnisse der Dritten Asiatischen Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] pp. 171–177. Victor Hornyánszky: Budapest, and Karl W. Hierseman: Leipzig.

[P27] Philpott, A. 1927. The maxillae in the Lepidoptera. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 721–746.

[S55] Schröder, H. 1955. Eine Falter-Ausbeute aus dem westlichen Bolivien. (Ins. Lepid. Rhopal.) Senckenbergiana Biologica 36: 329–338.

[VHK02] Verma, M., M. Hayat & S. I. Kazmi. 2002. The species of Elasmus from India (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Eulophidae). Oriental Insects 36: 245–306.

Last updated: 1 March 2021.

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