Rita Veneble calls this skipper a Music City butterfly because it has guitars on the wings! I have to agree with her description~Just check out those bright white patches on the hindwings!
|Adults perch upside down on the underside of leaves at night and on hot days|
They look more like moths than butterflies, but, they are indeed butterflies. Skippers are small to medium, usually orange, brown, black, white, or gray. Some are brighter or iridescent colored. They all have those large eyes (even their caterpillar has a large head), short antennae (often with hooked clubs), stout bodies, and three pairs of walking legs. Adults of most species have a long proboscis and feed on floral nectar.
Skippers are members of the Superfamily Hesperioidea. We have about 275 in North America, where I live in Middle Tennessee, we have approximately 50 different skippers. I am thrilled to be able to identify three of them!
I'm not too concerned about not being able to identify them. I do know, that I want them in my garden. They are important plant pollinators (although, pollination is incidental); they are part of the garden food chain, as consumers and food; and, because of their sensitivity to environmental toxins they are an important indicator species of ecosystem health. If you have an abundance of skippers and butterflies~you probably have a healthy garden habitat.
Now, I am going to the garden to inspect the legumes for folded leaves and check for cats!
Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.