Photo of the Week – September 6, 2012

Skippers are the sparrows of the butterfly world; lots of species, most of which are small, brown, and difficult to identify by amateur enthusiasts.  They often are misidentified as moths, but a closer look reveals the straight antennae (not fuzzy like on moths) that identify them as butterflies.

A skipper butterfly on gray headed coneflower. Restored prairie in Sarpy County, Nebraska.

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This particular skipper was sunning itself in a small prairie planting in Sarpy County (eastern Nebraska) last weekend.  I have no idea what species it is – maybe some of you will know, but without seeing more of the wings, I can’t tell what it is.  It flew off after  I took this photo and I didn’t get a good look at it.

(To be honest, I still probably wouldn’t have been able to identify it!)

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is an ecologist and Eastern Nebraska Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. He supervises the management and restoration of approximately 4,000 acres of land in central and eastern Nebraska - primarily along the central Platte River. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press.
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5 Responses to Photo of the Week – September 6, 2012

  1. James C. Trager says:

    Hi Chris — A lot of moths do in fact have non-fuzzy antennae. The notable antennal characteristic of skippers is the tapering terminal club (spindle-shaped thickening) near the tip of the antenna. At least the folded wing skippers also have a very unique wing posture at rest or when feeding at a flower.

  2. Pingback: Photo of the Week Article From The Prairie Ecologist Sept. 6, 2012 « IonXchange’s Blog

  3. Pingback: Photo of the Week Article From The Prairie Ecologist Sept. 6, 2012 « Wildflowers, Wildflowers & More Wildflowers

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