Brazilian Skipper Butterfly – Calpodes ethlius

Brazilian Skipper butterflies are the caterpillars that cut and roll Canna Lily leaves.

Brazilian Skipper butterflies are large compared to most skipper butterflies. They lay eggs on leaves of Canna plants.

Caterpillars eat a hole in their egg, exit the egg, and begin to eat leaves of Canna Lilies. They eat enough of a leaf to be able to fold the leaf. They stay inside the flap of leaf except when eating. They sit upside down on the upper side of the flap when not eating.

The head of the caterpillar is orange.

Brazilian Skipper caterpillars have transparent cuticles. The dark line down the back of the caterpillar is its heart. The heart runs from its head to the rear of the abdomen.

Holes in the sides of caterpillars, called spiracles, draw oxygen into the trachea. Trachea are tubes that move oxygen to the butterfly’s organs. Spiracles are in the sides of caterpillars, chrysalises, and adult butterflies.

Male caterpillars develop gonads. Brazilian Skipper gonads are white. They are located two-thirds of the way down the back of the caterpillar. The gonads can be seen in older caterpillars.

A Brazilian Skipper’s proboscis is much longer than its body. The chrysalis cannot contain the entire proboscis along its surface. The proboscis reaches far beyond the chrysalis body. When the adult butterfly emerges, as it crawls from the chrysalis shell, it pulls the long proboscis from the protective chrysalis tube that extends from its body.

Brazilian Skipper butterflies are found in much of the southern United States.