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Posts Tagged ‘skipper’

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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Out of the more than 3500 different species of skipper butterflies worldwide, according to Wikipedia, there is really only one that I can reliably identify—the Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus). I spotted this beautiful little butterfly this past weekend at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. The skipper was so intent on feeding that it let me get pretty close to it. As a result, this image is one of the rare cases when I didn’t feel a need or desire to crop at all. I am not very good at plant identification, but I really like the tiny flowers of the plant in this image.

Silver-spotted 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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It’s a gray and gloomy day with intermittent rain—I feed the need for some color. This little skipper butterfly was busily at work last week on some very colorful flowers and I was able to catch him in action with his proboscis extended.

I am not sure what kind of skipper this is (there are more than 3500 species of skippers worldwide), but it looks a little like one that a reader identified for me as a Peck’s Skipper (Polites peckius). I must confess, though, that many skippers look very similar to me, so my identification is very tentative.

Capturing the butterfly with my macro lens was not too much of a problem, but I had a real problem in processing these shots because of some super bright highlights coming of the yellow flowers. I ended up darkening the highlights and desaturating the color in order to restore some detail to those flowers. I am not sure if I am happy with the results and might choose to process them differently another time. (The RAW images are still intact.)

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Can you name the most recognized Skipper butterfly in North America?  According to Wikipedia, it’s the Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly (Epargyreus clarus), like this one that I photographed recently at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland.

I have been seeing a lot of skippers this month and many of them look so much alike that it is difficult for me to identify them  The Silver-spotted Skipper’s colors may be a little drab, but I am happy that it is easy to identify it, which makes me happy, given that there are over 3500 different species of skippers worldwide, according to a separate article in Wikipedia.

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© 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.

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© 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.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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