Monday, July 14, 2008

Skippers and other butterflies at Wildcat Ridge

Skippers are the "gulls" of the butterfly world and each year I find myself having to re-learn the ones I thought I knew to refresh my field identification skills. It's quite an identification challenge and there's always some doubt separating certain species. On Saturday, Wildcat Ridge had a few different skipper species skipping around along with some more familiar species of butterfly. The captions below have some ID hints for some of those skippers. Enjoy!

This is a female Northern Broken-dash, identified from this angle bu the pattern of white spots. The male has a broken black stigma on the upper forewing, hence the name. This is one that's a bit easier to ID from the underside.

Delaware Skipper - it's a plain orange underneath with an orange fringe.

A bit easier to ID - a Pearl Crescent

A little skipper loving going on here - these are Little Glassywings. One nice field mark is the white at the base of the antenna club.

Eastern Tailed Blue - love the striped antennae!

This oddity caused some discussion. It's a prepupal caterpillar of a Spicebush Swallowtail.

Great Spangled Fritillary

Yet another Northern Broken-dash - here you can clearly see the hint of the "3" shape on the hindwing. In this case, it's a backwards 3 and looks more like a crescent moon.

Hope you liked them!


John said...

Ah, skippers. I haven't really figured them out yet.

noflickster said...

Very cool Spicebush swallowtail caterpillar! Looks like it's getting ready to form a chrysalis - my daughter and I are hoping to find one so we can watch the pupation.

Great shots, and thanks for the very-helpful ID tips on the butterflies!

Mike said...

Like 'em? I loved them! The eastern blue is a beauty.

Larry said...

Great photos! I'll be on the lookout for that 3/moon shape on the las one. I only learn about butterflies and moths when I see them (or when I read blogs like yours). I haven't taken the time to study field guide.

LauraHinNJ said...

The blue is gorgeous - I never noticed the striped antenna.

Anonymous said...

"Skippers are the "gulls" of the butterfly world." That one's going in my personal book of noteworthy quotations.

Patrick Belardo said...

John, glad you liked my statement! Here's a conversation topic for the next time you're drinking beers with a group of naturalists: Which is toughest - identifying gulls, skippers, shorebirds, or damselflies?

Gallicissa said...

It's's wait... it's got to be shorebirds...don't think so?...alright's damselflies. No more beers.

noflickster said...

Patrick - crazy-deep question about the toughest to identify. I suspect the only answer is, "whichever you happen to be trying to id at the moment."