Tag Archives: Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Butterfly Journal For 8/1/2021- 8/6/2021

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

In what has proved to be an underwhelming butterfly week I recorded 52 observations, bringing the annual total to 351.  The sightings this week were limited to 7 species (all previously recorded this year): Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Monarch, Silver-spotted Skipper, Fiery Skipper, Ocola Skipper, Horace’s Duskywing, and Sachem.

Butterfly Sightings 8/1/2021- 8/6/2021

8/1/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
8/1/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
8/1/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
8/1/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 4
8/1/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
8/2/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 8
8/2/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 3
8/2/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
8/2/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
8/4/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
8/4/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 1
8/4/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 1
8/4/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
8/5/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 1
8/5/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
8/5/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2
8/5/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 3
8/5/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 2
8/5/2021 Sachem – Atalopedes campestris 1
8/6/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 2
8/6/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 11
8/6/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 3
8/6/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1

We finally had a couple days of cooler weather. The temporary relief from the summer’s heat was welcome yet poignant. I’m never ready for summer to end but already I sense it. On one day in particular when I searched for butterflies the stillness in the garden was almost eerie.

Rain started falling yesterday evening and this morning there is a nice steady shower—precipitation has been passing us by for weeks, even when areas nearby received several inches at a time.

In the garden little is blooming except a handful of annuals (zinnia, cosmos), Common lantana, and Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush).  Verbena bonariensis has mostly gone to seed and Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower) is headed to seed too, bringing in lots of American goldfinches. The few dahlias that managed to survive this year are doubles, not as attractive to pollinators as the single form.

Early in the week two monarchs passed in and out of the garden, too quickly for more than a just a glimpse. Most butterflies noted this week were little skippers. I had help identifying this skipper as Sachem.  So many look alike and in my garden most of these little ones turn out to be Fiery Skippers.

Sachem (Atalopedes campestris) (Female)

I have taken lots of pictures of Fiery Skippers but I was surprised to catch this one in flight with open wings.  I usually catch them nectaring with wings either closed or partially open.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

 

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Although Common lantana appears to offer pollinator appeal, Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan), which took a lot of years to become established, is attracting Fierys and other insects regularly.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

 

It is nice to see some butterfly activity around the new-this-year Salvia nemorosa ‘Blue Hill’ (Meadow Sage). I’m having a hard time staying on top of deadheading it though—seems very needy.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Ocola Skippers are often seen in the garden.  They have long forewings and I read they may feed while hanging upside down—like this one.

Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is the only species of larger butterflies I could photograph this week. Seeing missing portions from the hindwing makes me wonder what all these creatures must endure, what narrow escapes they make.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Some of the individuals are quite tattered and many are also worn. A fun fact gleaned from a Leps social media group explains the difference between fresh and worn: fresh butterfly wings are loaded with scales (think layers of shingles on a roof) that wear off. The butterfly wings rubbing together over a few days results in scales wearing off and causing the colors to fade — in most species. I haven’t done this but supposedly if you were to run your finger across a wing, you would get some color smeared on your finger, as you have gotten some scales on you it.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

 

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Here is a very worn duskywing and a fresher one.

Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

I do hope to see more different species. Last year I was informally keeping track and saw 7 species in August that I have yet to record this year. It will be interesting to see if butterflying picks up next week.

Butterfly Journal For June 5-11, 2021

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

This week the most prevalent butterfly in my garden was the Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) of which I counted 5 on 4 different days throughout the week (06/06/2021 – 06/11/2021).

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Aside from the easily recognizable Silver-spotted Skipper, identifying most of the skippers is a challenge. iNaturalist suggests possibilities and I am tentatively calling this Southern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia otho), hoping for a confirmation. I saw a similar one the next day, but couldn’t get close enough for a photo. There usually are many skippers but I’ve never recorded this kind before, so am skeptical.  [UPDATE: 6-17-2021 ID from Carolina Leps confirms as Southern Broken-Dash, a first for me.]

Southern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia otho) ???

On June 8 and 11 I encountered the first Duskywings of the year. iNaturalist has not been much help so far in identifying these either. I tentatively listed one as Zarucco Duskywing (Erynnis zarucco) and the second as Horace’s Duskywing -(E. horatius), but my photographs are not very clear. I thinks it’s possible they could be the same individual. [UPDATE: 6-17-2021 ID from Carolina Leps suggest this is probably Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius).]

Zarucco Duskywing (Erynnis zarucco) ???  June 8, 2021 Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)  ???  June 11, 2021

On each of 3 days I encountered a Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia). This little butterfly flits all over the garden and has been difficult to photograph. In the shortest amount of time it lands briefly on clover or grass, mulch, iris and penstemon leaves, not caring it could have a lovely portrait made if it would just be still! One finally slowed down a fraction to nectar on the butterfly bush.

Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia

Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia

While fretting around the butterfly bush trying to photograph the buckeye I enjoyed the happenstance of a cool moth sighting. I managed a few images of  a Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe) (June 11, 2021).  Gotta love those wings!

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

My favorite butterfly visitor this week was on 6/9/2021, another Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor), the third in the garden this year. Its colors were so rich as if it were freshly inked!

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

There were flowers happening throughout the garden too which I will share another time.  Off to attend the Plant Symposium.  Enjoy your weekend!

 

Swallowtail Sighting

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

Since 2018 I have seen a single Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) each year. Today was the day for 2021. I hope it won’t be the only one but at any rate it was thrilling to see this exotic looking butterfly this afternoon. It was sunny and 88 degrees F.

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

For the record I also saw two Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) earlier this morning and another (or one of the same) this afternoon. Verbena bonariensis was the attraction for both species.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

 

Butterflies

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

I chased a butterfly around yesterday afternoon, a tiny one named Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas). It did not let me approach very close so the pictures just give a hint of what it looks like in person.

It lit on a brick edging of the meditation circle, so here you can get an idea of the relative size.

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)

I had to enlarge the image a lot to show detail. Can you make out the tail?

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)

The Eastern Tailed-Blue moved onto clover in the grass and eventually I could see the wings open.

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) – center

Wings partly open:

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) -below and right of center

Here it is enlarged with the wings open.

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)

Another Silver-spotted Skipper visited yesterday enticed by the ever popular verbena bonariensis. It moved around quickly also but stayed let me near for pictures.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

I saw one Monarch butterfly 6 weeks ago, April 13, 2021, when there was little blooming for it to enjoy. The southern side path is ready for them now. The Asclepias tuberosa has more light this year and has responded accordingly.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Yesterday’s Garden

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

As soon as I noticed the ginger lily in bloom yesterday I began photographing it until a soft breeze sent the lemony sweet fragrance my way. It was a reminder to pause and appreciate.

Hedychium coronarium (Ginger lily)

I gathered dahlias yesterday and finally decided it was time to cut some zinnias too, the latest zinnia harvest I’ve known.

Dahlias and Zinnias

Dahlias and Zinnias

There have been Eastern Tiger Swallowtails in the garden all week, enough that I finally didn’t feel the urge to take more pictures. The first Painted Lady butterfly I have seen this year appeared on lantana late afternoon.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

The number of Fiery and Ocola skippers has declined dramatically over the past two weeks, but I don’t often see Zabulon Skippers, at least that I can identify, but this is one, a female. I encountered it accidentally, thinking it was a Silver-Spotted on I had been following.

Zabulon Skipper (Lon zabulon)

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Echinacea-A Big Draw

Echinacea draws a variety of insects.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) on Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Its latest appreciator is this pretty Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus), a familiar and common butterfly in this area. The name misrepresents its spot color, which is white not silver.

For a moment a honeybee vied with the skipper for this flower, but it soon left amicably and settled on the coneflower in back.

The bee bounces in at 7 seconds into this video.

We could use some rain, a lot of rain actually. Hope your garden is making you happy.