In the Savannah Garden Club’s beautiful acreage, it was a bed of zinnias that attracted this Clouded Sulphur Butterfly (Lerema accius). As with many of the little skipper (Hesperiinae) relatives, it took some time for me to review our field guides and comfortably determine which skipper it is. Until we learn otherwise, we’re going to call this butterfly a Clouded Skipper.
We don’t see them in Western Pennsylvania. This southeastern U.S. species does work its way up the Atlantic coastline, reportedly as far north as Connecticut. The butterfly is not believed to be winter hardy, and for most, it’s a one-way flight north. Rich Cech and Guy Tudor suggest that some may in fact winter over, but these may be of very limited number.
They are Grass Skippers, so their caterpillars build leaf shelters and then consume the exposed leaf within. Pretty neat stuff.
All of this reminds me of how little we still know about the butterflies in the U.S.. Let’s ask our international followers, “How much is known about your country’s gossamer wing residents?”
- Fiery Skipper butterfly (michaelqpowell.wordpress.com)
- Cool Summers Stall Silver-Spotted Skipper Butterflies’ Recovery From Extinction (hngn.com)
- How to identify the grass skipper butterfy (readingeagle.com)
- Two South Florida butterflies declared likely extinct (miamiherald.com)