Fiery Skipper and Silver-spotted Skipper Butterflies

Silver-spotted Skipper

This morning our yellow blooms of lantana had come to life with a fluttering burst of several Fiery Skipper butterflies, and with them, one larger Silver-spotted Skipper.

The Fiery Skippers are very small orange and brown or black butterflies that – when they’re not fluttering from bloom to bloom – often hold their wings in a kind of triangle shape, with the forewings held upright, and the hindwings folded flat. At first glance, they appear kind of plain, even drab, but a closer look shows big black eyes in a fuzzy face that’s very appealing. I watched several probing individual yellow blooms with long, thread-like black proboscis. Their short antennae have tiny orange clubs on the ends. 

The Silver-spotted Skipper is larger, but with a similar shape. It’s a much darker brown, with a prominent silver-white band on the underside of its hindwings. 

In doing some research about them – because I know very little about butterflies, but would like to learn – I found one source that said Silver-spotted Skippers almost never visit yellow flowers – but this one was visiting yellow lantana blooms, and I have often seen them in past years in our lantana. Maybe it’s not their first choice – maybe they have few choices here.

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