In My Yard!!!

Oh my goodness! OH MY GOODNESS!!  Stop. Come back. Stay! The skipper stayed long enough for me to  find it and snap a picture before it left. It was a skipper with long tails. Silver-spotted skippers don’t have tails and are a  common butterfly. They also have a bright white patch on the underneath side of their hindwing.

This is the original picture with arrow pointing to the skipper.

Please excuse the quality of the picture. It’s a windy day, I was zoomed to 15x and the skipper only stayed seconds at its few stops. Its tails don’t show because of its angle.  They were distinctive when it was flying though.This skipper lacked the white spot. Its coloring was pale from age, and it had olive green base on top of its wings and on its back.

I used the Butteflies and Moths of Missouri book to identify it. It’s a long-tailed skipper (Urbanus proteus). Their range covers from Argentina, north through Central America, the West Indies and Mexico, to the pennisula of Florida and south Texas. It occasionally strays and colonizes north to Connecticut, southern Illinois, eastern Kansas, south Arizona and southern California. This is the second one I’ve ever seen.

While researching online, I ended up on bugguide.net. It showed a picture of a fresh long-tailed skipper that was seen in Williamson County, Illinois on September 28, 2012. Today is October 4. I live in Saline County Illinois, which touches Williamson County on the east.  This is in southern Illinois.

I went back our after lunch and actually had a silver spotted-skipper visit my butterfly bush.

Obviously, this silver-spotted skipper wasn’t a fresh specimen either, but it was only the third one I’ve seen this season. Our drought severely impacted insect populations this summer.

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