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Spread-Winged Skippers (subfamily Pyrginae, family Hesperiidae)

Checkered Skippers (Genus Pyrgus)

The general consensus is that Common and White Checkered Skippers can't be distinguished by photos like these.    What is even more confusing is that the White Checkered Skipper is replacing the Common Checkered Skipper in the Southeast. 

According to Brock & Kaufman (2003), males (presumably of both species) "often" have "sparse blue hair."   It seems that the males have lighter thorax hair than the females.   It's interesting that females seem to outnumber males, especially this year.  My best guess is that female butterflies and skippers always outnumber males towards the end of butterfly season, and Checkered Skippers appear late in the season, peaking in late September and early October in North Carolina.

Male Checkered Skipper, NC Botanical Garden, 11/1/03. Male Checkered Skipper, Penny's Bend Nature Reserve, 8/23/05.  Both of these leftmost males don't just have bluish thorax hair, but some of this hair is long and extends over the wings. Male White Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus Albescens).  I took this picture in Duke Gardens, Durham, NC.  It is very similar in appearance to the Common Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus Communis) but not identical: Ron Gatrelle is pretty sure that it's a male White.  This male lacks the blue-green thorax coloring the other two males in this row have, and the white spots seem a little bigger to me than those of the male on the far left..

 

Female Common (or White) Checkered Skipper.  I saw it in Duke Gardens on 7/24/05.  Jeff Pippen, leading a butterfly walk, identified this one at the time and called our attention to it. Female Checkered Skipper, Penny's Bend Nature Reserve, Durham County, NC, 9/20/05. Female Checkered Skipper, Raulston Arboretum, Wake County, NC, 9/23/05. Female Checkered Skipper, Durham, 10/3/05.  This skipper showed up in the swamp in my neighborhood. Female  Checkered Skipper, Duke Forest, Gate 12, 10/14/05.

 

Female Checkered Skipper, Duke Forest, Gate 12, Durham, NC, 9/29/05.  This one's thorax looks as blue as the that of the 8/23/05 male above. Female  Checkered Skipper, Duke Forest, Gate 12, Durham, NC, 9/29/05.  Both of these rightmost skippers look hairier than the one on the immediate left, but maybe degree of wear and tear is what's different. Female Checkered Skipper, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 10/2/05. 

 

Duke Gardens, 7/24/05. Checkered Skipper, Duke Gardens, 9/17/05. 

Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus)

Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus).  This skipper was hanging upside down from a leaf at night in Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, NC.  I saw another hanging from a glass door at night.  Apparently they use an adhesive material to attach their feet to something before they go to sleep. I saw this Long-Tailed Skipper in downtown Bay St. Louis, Hancock County, MS.  It's missing its right tail.

Common Sootywing (Phalisora catullus)

Common Sootywing (Phalisora catullus), Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh, Wake County, NC, 4/13/07

Silver-spotted Skipper  (Epargyreus clarus)

Silver-spotted Skipper, NC Botanical Garden, Orange County, NC, 5/29/05 Silver-spotted Skipper, Durham, 7/16/05 Silver-spotted Skipper, Durham, 6/13/05. Silver-spotted Skipper, Little Scaly Mountain, 8/11/05. Silver-spotted Skippers, Duke Gardens, 7/24/05 Silver-spotted Skipper, Raven Rock State Park, Harnett County, NC, 3/12/06

 

Silver-spotted Skipper, Boone, Watauga County, NC, 8/9/06

Northern Cloudywing (Thorybes pylades)

Northern Cloudywing , Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, 5/29/05 Northern Cloudywing, Duke Forest, Gate 12, Durham, 8/23/06

Southern Cloudywing (Thorybes bathyllus)

Southern Cloudywing, Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, Durham County, NC, 4/14/06

Duskywings (genus Erynnis)

Duskywings aren't so much hard to identify as hard to photograph.   Not only do you have to get a good photograph, but one taken in the same light as those in the butterfly books/websites/whatever.   One thing you learn quickly from photographing duskywings is that there's no such thing as absolute pigment color: everything depends on lighting, and even then no duskywing photo looks quite real.

Sleepy Duskywings (Erynnis brizo)

Sleepy Duskywing (Erynnis brizo), Occoneechee Mountain, Orange County, NC, 4/22/05 Female Sleepy Duskywing, Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Durham County, NC, 4/25/05 Sleepy Duskywing, ventral view of the butterfly on the left. Sleepy Duskywing, Eno River State Park, Few's Ford access, Cox Mountain, Orange County, NC, 4/12/06

Horace's Duskywings (Erynnis horatio)

Female Horace's Duskywing, Indian Creek Wildlife Observation Trail, a Jordan Lake Game Land, Chatham County, NC, 4/18/06.  First Horace's I've observed this year! Female Horace's Duskywing (Erynnis horatio), Durham, 6/25/04.  This is a common summer butterfly around here. Female Horace's Duskywing, Duke Gardens, 7/24/05.

 

Male Horace's Duskywing, Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Orange County, NC, 7/6/05 Male Horace's Duskywing, Duke Gardens, 7/19/05 Male Horace's Duskywing, Duke Gardens, 7/24/05. Male Horace's Duskywing, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, 9/18/05.

 

Male Horace's Duskywing, Durham, 8/21/05

Juvenal's Duskywings (Erynnis juvenalis)

Male Juvenal's Duskywing, Eno River State Park, Fews Ford Access, 4/7/05.  This, on the other hand, is a typical spring butterfly. Male Juvenal's Duskywing, Indian Creek Trail, Chatham County, NC, 4/4/06.  The rounded hind wings make me doubtful about the ID. Male Juvenals' Duskywing, Occoneechee Mountain Natural Area, Orange County, NC, 4/9/06.  These rounded hind wings make me doubtful, though. Male Juvenal's Duskywing,  Eno River State Park, Orange County, NC, 4/28/06.

 

Female Juvenal's Duskywing, Santee NWR, Orangeburg County, SC, 3/26/06. Female Juvenal's Duskywing, Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Durham County, NC, 4/25/05. Female Juvenal's Duskywing, White Pines Nature Preserve, Chatham County, NC, 4/18/06.  This is actually a dorsal view, with the left wing obscured.

Female Juvenal's Duskywing, Eno River SP, Old Cole Mill Road access, Orange County, NC, 4/25/05.

Female Juvenal's Duskywing, Eno River SP, Few's Ford access, Cox Mountain, 4/12/06

Dreamy Duskywing (Erynnis icelus)

This might be a Dreamy Duskywing.  Boone, Watauga County,  8/29/05

Mystery Duskywings

The brown fringe is a good clue, though.

Jordan Lake Game Land (Indian Creek), 4/4/06. Courting Duskywings, NC Botanical Garden, 3/14/06

Mystery Skipper

Alas, an out-of-focus picture of a an unknown skipper, taken at a meadow near the Paseo Pinones trail in LoÝza, Puerto Rico on 1/9/05.  But it looks like a member of the Epargyreus genus.

© Copyright 2005-7 Dorothy E. Pugh