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Posts Tagged ‘skipper butterfly’

There were crowds of people at Huntley Meadows Park on Monday, a  holiday in the United States, but I managed to find some moments of serenity and solitude as I contemplated this skipper butterfly perched on a faded iris at the edge of a vernal pool off of the beaten path.

I may be a little selfish, I suppose, but I enjoy nature most when I don’t have to share it with others.


Skipper on iris

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Every spring I seem to have the same problem—I see small brown skipper butterflies and can’t seem to identify them. Wikipedia notes that there are over 3500 species recognized worldwide, so I don’t feel too bad about my poor identification skills. I spotted this particular one during a recent trip to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia as it was feeding on what looks to be some variety of salvia flower—there are a lot of types of salvia flowers too.

As I looked through internet photos of possible matches for my skipper, I considered that it might be a Peck’s Skipper or possibly a Fiery Skipper, but none of them is a perfect match. I’m hoping that it turns out to be a Zabulon Skipper (Poanes zabulon). Why? More than anything else, I think “Zabulon” is a cool name.

skipper

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Skipper butterflies normally do not get much attention because they are small and are not brightly colored.  When you look closely at members of this large family of butterflies, however, you discover an amazing variety of colors and patterns.

Give some love to the skippers. (Click on any one of the images to see all of them full size in slide show mode, unless you are viewing the post in the WordPress Reader, in which, I believe, the images will be shown individually.)

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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A handsome little skipper feeds on a gorgeous purple flower and the result is simply beautiful.

skipper_purple_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Small skipper butterflies don’t stand out as much as their larger, more colorful brethren, but they have an understated beauty that I find striking. It’s a daunting challenge, however, to identify them.

According to Wikipedia, there are more than 3500 recognized species of skippers worldwide, so I don’t feel too bad that my identification skills are weak in this area. As I looked through images on-line, I came across one identified as a Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna) that looks a bit like the one that I photographed, though my confidence level in this identification is pretty low.

I am confident, however, that I like the image I captured of the little skipper. There is a pretty good amount of detail, the background is blurred, and the leaves on which the butterfly is perched makes for an interesting pose.

UPDATE: A butterfly expert has definitively identified this as a female Sachem (Atalopedes campestris). Thanks to Joe Schelling and Jim Brock for their assistance in identifying this little skipper.

skipper1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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