16 March 2006

Common Checkered Skipper

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chckrdskppr3There are only 2 Pyrgus species known from Maryland, the Grizzled Skipper (P. centaureae) and the Common Checkered Skipper (P. communis). I believe the butterflies in my photographs represent the latter species. The photos above and on the left are of the same individual, while the one below, photographed about a week later at the same location (end of September-beginning of October of last year), is a different individual, because the fringes of its hind wings are more complete than those of the earlier individual. The location was a highly disturbed open field near a large creek and a busy road (East-West Highway) in Riverdale, Prince George's Co., Maryland.

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The range of the Common Checkered Skipper covers most of the temperate North America extending south to the mountains of northern Mexico. Apparently, the species cannot survive very cold winters. A few days ago Firefly Forest Blog had pictures of a male Common Checkered Skipper from Arizona.

In contrast, the Grizzled Skipper is a more widely distributed Holarctic species, whose range extends not only to Alaska, Labrador and the arctic Quebec, but also across Asia to northern Europe.

2 comments:

T. Beth said...

These skippers are very difficult to identify!

biosparite said...

NABA has informed butterfly counters that one cannot distinguish the white from the common checkered skipper short of dissection.