Peck’s Skipper Butterfly ID’d

Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania
This one was so pert, so distinctly marked and so willing to pose for me. The image I captured here, good enough to share, does though reveal my limited knowledge of the numerous species of Skippers that make Raccoon Creek State Park their home. September 5, 2014, and we’ve not been formally introduced.

We now know that she is a Peck’s  Skipper (Polites Peckius). Skippers keep me company on the trails that we share. Their mixes of browns, tans, creams and white just tantalize my eyes. That, somehow lessens the isolation felt by those of us who search for common and very uncommon butterflies. I also devote good thinking time to trying to understand how these tiny fliers survive weeks in the wild, especially during the nights, when they remain hidden in foliage, at the mercy of the legions of creepy crawlies that spend the dark hours, hunting for prey. Scary business that, when there is no front door to lock out the beasts of prey.


Chomping on a Moth . . .

Mantid with forelimb in moth photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, 9/4/14
September 4th 2014, and I’m working the edge of a 100+ acre field in Raccoon Creek State Park, southwestern Pennsylvania. For those of you from the more than 100 countries who visit wingedbeauty, this is about 8.5 hours by car, west of New York City.

August and September bring new action to the northeastern United States, and our female Praying Mantis (Mantis religious) is common during these months. I met her as she was in the middle of devouring this moth. She did not appear to be threatened by my steady approach, macro- lens come within some 2 feet of her. That was no surprise, because Jeff remembers back when he was a boy, and reached out to grab a Praying Mantis. OMG! Her bite HURT! She also speared me with those skin piercing points on her forelimbs. She’s got the weapons sure enough.

I shot out several dozen images, what with her so fine to look at, the pathos/natural cycle of the field, rich-yellow goldenrod flower heads, and excellent early morning sunlight, coming in at a very, good angle.

Read a recent discussion on Facebook considering whether or not Mantids are a threat to butterflies. The consensus of some very field savvy folks was that they are not. Our experts infrequently see them take butterflies. I am comfortable with that.

Truth of it? I like and admire Mantis religiousa. Over time I’ve also come to be an admirer of their formidable cousin, the Chinese Mantid, also found in much of the U.S..


N.B., I’m 2 days back from my 3 weeks out of the country. My field work was very pleasing. When the slides come back from Kansas, we’ll see what we can see.