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Skippers (Hesperiidae family, Hesperioidea superfamily)

Skippers are informally considered to be butterflies, although "true butterflies" are members of the Papilionoidea superfamily.  The skippers that I have photos of are all in either of two sub-families: the grass skippers (the Hesperiinae sub-family) and the spread-winged skippers (the Pyrginae sub-family).

Grass Skippers (Hesperiinae)

Although I first saw grass skippers on flowers, I eventually discovered that they do spend much, if not most, of their time in the grass.  That's where they hide when it's raining, and they're quick to come out after the rain stops.  Perhaps because they're small, they tolerate moisture better than the "true" butterflies and are more likely to venture out in the early morning than later.  The tiny Least Skipper thrives in swampy environments.  Yet some are capable of major migration, such as the Brazilian Skipper. 

Brazilian Skipper (Calpodes ethlius).  This particular skipper may not have come all the way from Brazil to Carolina Beach to give me the big eye on 9/30/04, but Brazil is the middle of the geographic range of this species.  Jeff Pippen confirmed this species identification. Palatka Skipper (Euphyes pilatka).  I wish I had more than one photo of members of this endangered species (Nature Conservancy G3 rating).  I took this picture in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Dare County, NC on 9/25/04.  Jeff Pippen identified this relatively large skipper.

Spread-winged Skippers (Pyrginae)

These larger skippers often, but not always, spread their wings while resting.  Some of them, such as the Silver-Spotted Skipper, do "skip" around in flight (each flap sending one up briefly), while the Long-Tailed Skipper can move steadily and rapidly. 

Long-Tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus), Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC, 11/11/03. Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades), Durham, NC, 10/7/04.

© Copyright 2005-2010 Dorothy E. Pugh