Thorybes bathyllus

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Southern cloudywing
Southern Cloudywing, Megan McCarty84.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Hesperiidae
Genus: Thorybes
Species:T. bathyllus
Binomial name
Thorybes bathyllus
(Smith, 1797)
Thorybes bathyllus range map.PNG

Thorybes bathyllus, the southern cloudywing (sometimes spelled southern cloudy wing), is a North American butterfly in the family Hesperiidae. Southern cloudywings can be difficult to identify because of individual variation and confusing seasonal forms. In the south, where it has two broods per year, two seasonal forms occur. Spring forms are usually lightly marked and resemble confused cloudywings ( Thorybes confusis ). Summer forms tend to be more boldly marked, by comparison, making identification easier. However, summer confused cloudywings are also strongly patterned, which makes identifying them more difficult. Their rapid flight is very erratic, though it is closer to the ground than in some of its close relatives. [1]

Butterfly A group of insects in the order Lepidoptera

Butterflies are insects in the macrolepidopteran clade Rhopalocera from the order Lepidoptera, which also includes moths. Adult butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight. The group comprises the large superfamily Papilionoidea, which contains at least one former group, the skippers and the most recent analyses suggest it also contains the moth-butterflies. Butterfly fossils date to the Paleocene, which was about 56 million years ago.

Offspring in biology, the product of reproduction of an organism

In biology, offspring are the young born of living organisms, produced either by a single organism or, in the case of sexual reproduction, two organisms. Collective offspring may be known as a brood or progeny in a more general way. This can refer to a set of simultaneous offspring, such as the chicks hatched from one clutch of eggs, or to all the offspring, as with the honeybee.



Specimen Southern Cloudywing, Megan McCarty85.jpg

On average, the southern cloudywing is usually slightly smaller than the northern cloudywing ( Thorybes pylades ) and about the same size as the confused cloudywing. The palps are whitish with a white ring around the eye. [1] A white spot is seen on the bend of the antennal club. [2] Males lack a fore wing costal fold. The upper side of the wings is dark brown with the fore wing submarginal area having an aligned row of glassy white spots. Near the fore wing costa is a conspicuous spot in the shape of an hourglass (in spring forms this spot is lacking). In the subapical area are three to four spots that are either all connected as if they were one mark (summer form) or with the bottom spot slightly offset (spring form). [1] [2] The underside of the wings is mottled dark brown with two darker brown bands. [2] In some cases, the hind wing may have a variable amount of frosting near the margin. [1] Its wingspan measures 32–38 mm (1.3–1.5 in). [3]

<i>Thorybes pylades</i> species of insect

Thorybes pylades, the northern cloudywing, is a butterfly species of the family Hesperiidae.

Antenna (biology) appendages used for sensing in arthropods

Antennae, sometimes referred to as "feelers", are paired appendages used for sensing in arthropods.

Wingspan distance from one wingtip to the other wingtip of an airplane or an animal (insect, bird, bat)

The wingspan of a bird or an airplane is the distance from one wingtip to the other wingtip. For example, the Boeing 777-200 has a wingspan of 60.93 metres, and a wandering albatross caught in 1965 had a wingspan of 3.63 metres, the official record for a living bird. The term wingspan, more technically extent, is also used for other winged animals such as pterosaurs, bats, insects, etc., and other fixed-wing aircraft such as ornithopters. In humans, the term wingspan also refers to the arm span, which is distance between the length from one end of an individual's arms to the other when raised parallel to the ground at shoulder height at a 90º angle. Former professional basketball player Manute Bol stands at 7 ft 7 in (2.31 m) and owns one of the largest wingspans at 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m).

Similar species

Similar species in the southern cloudywings range include the northern cloudywing and the confused cloudywing.

The northern cloudywing has brown palps, the white ring around the eye is not continuous, and males have a fore wing costal fold. [1]

The confused cloudywing has grayish-white palps, lacks the white spot on the bend of the antennal club, and on the upper side of the fore wing the subapical spots are more loosely connected with the bottom spot quite offset. [1]


This butterfly may be found in a variety of open habitats such as along streams, meadows, savannas, scrubby fields, and woodlands. [1] [2] [3]


This species is on the wing from June to mid-July in the north and March to November in the south. [4]


Males are highly territorial and are known to use the same perch throughout their adult lifespans. [1] Females lay their pale green eggs singly on the underside of host plant leaves. The larva lives in a leaf shelter by rolling or tying leaves together with silk. The larva is brown with a greenish hue. It has a dark mid-dorsal stripe and has a pale lateral line. The head and collar are both black. The pupa is either greenish with brown markings or a dull brown color. It overwinters as a mature larva. [4] The southern cloudywing has one brood per year in the north and two or three broods in the south. [1]

Host plants

The list of host plants used by the southern cloudywing includes:

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Rick Cech and Guy Tudor (2005). Butterflies of the East Coast. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. ISBN   0-691-09055-6
  2. 1 2 3 4 Jim P. Brock and Kenn Kaufman (2003). Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin, New York, NY. ISBN   0-618-15312-8
  3. 1 2 Ernest M. Shull (1987). The Butterflies of Indiana. Indiana Academy of Science. ISBN   0-253-31292-2
  4. 1 2 James A. Scott (1986). The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA. ISBN   0-8047-2013-4