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!)

About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.
This entry was posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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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