Silver Spotted Skipper on Soybeans

Silver Spotted Skipper on Soybeans

Silver spotted skipper adult
Figure 1. Silver spotted skipper adult butterfly
Silver spotted skipper larva
Figure 2. Silver spotted skipper larva

August 7, 2014

I have received a report of silver spotted skipper adults being common in southeastern Nebraska soybeans. This insect is periodically found on Nebraska soybeans at this time of year. It is rarely an economic pest in soybeans, but may raise questions due to its strange appearance.

The adult is a distinctive looking skipper butterfly that is often seen feeding on nectar on flowering plants. The caterpillar is rather distinctive in appearance, with a large dark reddish brown head, two yellow eyespots, and a narrow neck behind the head.  It can reach 2 inches long at maturity.

Larvae develop on a variety of leguminous shrubs, trees and annual plants, including black locust and soybeans.

Larvae feed on the upper canopy, and often web leaflets together to form a protected area to feed.  In reproductive soybeans, if defoliation from all insects present reaches 20% on a field average basis, insecticide treatments may be warranted.

For more information on silver spotted skipper see, http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/bfly/silver-spotted_skipper.htm

Bob Wright
Extension Entomologist