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.


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!)

5 thoughts on “Photo of the Week – September 6, 2012

  1. James C. Trager September 6, 2012 / 2:23 pm

    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.

    • Aaron September 6, 2012 / 5:39 pm

      Chris — I would say this is Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistocles).

      • Chris Helzer September 10, 2012 / 9:08 am

        Thanks Aaron – No one is disagreeing, so I’ll take that as consent! It’s certainly a species that is common in the area. I appreciate the ID.


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