Saturday, November 7, 2009

Common Checkered Skipper


I was lucky to have spotted this little critter.

Here's more about the little Common Checkered-Skipper I photographed on my walk last weekend. In the scientific community they are known as Pyrgus commonis, belonging to the subfamily Pyrginae (spread-wind Skippers) and in the Family Hesperiidae. Skippers are the butterfly equivalent to the LBJ’s (Little Brown Jobbies) of the birding world. But this guy is pretty distinctive by comparison. In West Virginia they have been found in all of the eastern panhandle counties and those bordering Virginia. They could be in other parts of West Virginia but to my knowledge no one has reported a sighting.



You can see the blue which is charastic of the male. Isn't that a nice color combination for a suit?


The top side of the body is blue-gray on the males and black on the females. You can see this one is a male. He looks like he is dressed to attend the Royal Ascot race. The field guides say they have black checks but in this photo they look maroon brown to me. It is probably the reflective color that my camera picked up. I suspect that if it were inside and pinned it would look black. Their wingspan is one to one and half inches. I never realized how beautiful they were until I saw my photograph. But then a lot of things as well as people are much more beautiful once you take a closer look.

When I moved closer he became a little nervous and moved back under the leaf. I was just inches away so I don't blame him. I talk to butterflies to calm them down but it probably really only calms me so I can be steady when I press that button. When photographing butterflies it is very important to not let your shadow land on them, they will fly for sure.

The caterpillar feeds on plants from the Mallow family (Malvaceae) which includes the familiar hollyhock. They make a folded leaf nest where they can safely live and feed until they are adults. During the winter they hibernate as adult caterpillars.

This was the parting shot after he moved to another location. I thanked him and we both moved on.





See more interesting critters at Camera Critters Saturday.

21 comments:

chubskulit said...

that is gorgeous!

My children's first encounter with pigs. Have a great weekend!

Hootin' Anni said...

How wonderful....mother nature at its finest...such great camouflage.

My camera critter is posted now...scroll down below the Photo Hunt entry to view my bronze elephant photo.

Click Here

B : ) said...

You were lucky - you almost can't see him! Thanks for sharing. B : )

http://bleemcguire.blogspot.com/2009/11/color-carnival-and-camera-critters-its.html

eileeninmd said...

Great capture of the skipper. It is a beautiful critter.

Wrigley said...

Very nice. :)

Denise said...

Beautiful butterfly photos, I've never come across this one before so thanks for introducing me.

i beati said...

pretty close up sandy

Wren said...

Good spot (as it were). I'm hoping to have time to learn more about the various butterflies. They are all so beautiful.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

SQ: Nicely captured, a very colorful butterfly for certain.

Gaelyn said...

Great captures and good info. The dusty blue goes well with what I see as deep burgundy brown, or if it's really black as well. Makes a fine suit for this Checkered skipper.

Wanda said...

He may be common, but I have never seen a Common Checkered Skipper!

Oskar said...

Very interesting to see that he's both furry and has wings. Great shot!

Willard said...

Beautiful shots to be proud of. Butterflies make wonderful subjects.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Great photos and thanks for all the information, interesting.

Tulip said...

fantastic shot of a beautiful butterfly. happy weekend (",)

Joy said...

Your photos are truly magnificent!

Anna said...

I loved this post - the pics and the info. I love how fuzzy he is.

Chie Wilks said...

i so love butterflies in different colors.. gorgeous shot

mine is a monkey

Calico Crazy said...

Simply magnificent! I just love the clarity and detail in your photos, and the information you share just adds to it.

Calico Contemplations

SquirrelQueen said...

Beautiful photo of the Skipper. I saw so many of them here this year in my yard as well as at the local park. Most were brown but I saw quite a few of these early in the season. I have featured them at various times on both of my blogs. I enjoyed learning more about these beautiful creatures.

Carolyn Ford said...

How beautiful! I love the colors of the rock and the skipper! Beautiful composition! I am glad you saw this little guy and had your camera too!