Currently viewing the category: "Butterflies and Skippers"

Subject:  What butterfly or moth is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Los Angeles, CA
Date: 08/20/2019
Time: 11:31 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this little one while gardening. I was curious about the species. I’ve seen many swallowtails lately but not this one. I couldn’t find anything in a google search.
How you want your letter signed:  Vic

Funereal Duskywing

Dear Vic,
This is one of the Duskywing Skippers in the genus
Erynnis, probably the Funereal Duskywing which is pictured on BugGuide.  Daniel has been seeing Funereal Duskyings in his Mount Washington garden on composite flowers including sunflower for weeks.

Subject:  Moth? in Michigam
Geographic location of the bug:  Ypsilanti, MI 48198
Date: 08/19/2019
Time: 05:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello, looking for help with identification.
How you want your letter signed:  Thank You!!! JO


Dear JO,
This is not a Moth.  It is a newly eclosed butterfly, and that is its chrysalis in the background.  The common name for this butterfly is the Questionmark, a name that refers to the silver ?-shaped mark on the lower wings.

Subject:  Butterfly or moth
Geographic location of the bug:  Tucson, AZ
Date: 08/09/2019
Time: 03:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
I saw this butterfly or moth in an orange tree in my friends backyard in Tucson yesterday 8/8/19 around 5pm.
Sent it out to family, but no one knows what it is so far.
My friend fears it could hurt the tree.
If you are able to identify it I’d appreciate knowing what it is and if it takes up residence, could it cause harm and if so, how to encourage gently, to find another home.
Thank you for your service.
All the best,
How you want your letter signed:  Patrick

Hackberry Emperor

Dear Patrick,
Though your images lack critical sharpness, we are relative certain this butterfly is a Hackberry Emperor,
Asterocampa celtis, based on this BugGuide image.  We are intrigued with your friend’s irrational fear that a butterfly might pose a threat to the orange tree.  Butterflies generally feed on nectar.  Only in the caterpillar stage when most species feed on leaves would a butterfly pose anything resembling a threat to a tree, and then only if the caterpillars are very plentiful.  Is there a hackberry tree nearby?  Because the caterpillars feed on the leaves of hackberry, BugGuide notes of the habitat preference:  “Varied, but always near Hackberry trees.” 

Subject:  Unknown butterfly
Geographic location of the bug:  Tilaran, Costa Rica
Date: 08/04/2019
Time: 04:20 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
please identify this little butterfly I had found on October 15 near Tilaran at a meadow.
Thank you in advance
How you want your letter signed:  Johannes

White Veined Skipper

Dear Johannes,
We don’t know how many of the 13 identification requests you submitted yesterday we will be able to address, but we will attempt to research as many as we are able with our limited time.  We believe this is a Veined White Skipper,
Heliopetes arsalte, which we located on Butterflies of America.

Subject:  insect ID
Geographic location of the bug:  south central Virginia
Date: 07/31/2019
Time: 09:04 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please help me identify this bug.  Thanks.
How you want your letter signed:  Marc

Atala Hairstreak

Dear Marc,
This is such an unusual sighting, that we are quite excited to post it.  A black butterfly with a red abdomen is quite distinctive, and we quickly identified at the Atala Butterfly on the Blue Butterflies page of the University of Florida Gardening Solutions site where it states:  “
The Atala butterfly (Eumaeus atala Poey) is a rare butterfly with a limited distribution in South Florida. The outside of the butterflies’ wings (when folded together) are deep black, with curved rows of iridescent blue spots. They have a bright red-orange abdomen. The open wings of the male butterflies feature an iridescent, bright blue, while the females have only small streaks of blue on the wings. Newly hatched caterpillars are very tiny and pale yellow. Over a day or two they develop into bright red caterpillars with yellow spots.  Atala butterflies suffered massive population declines in the early 1900s; early settlers nearly wiped out the Atala’s preferred host plant, coontie, for its starch. Today, Atala butterflies are considered rare, but the planting of coontie in butterfly gardens and as an ornamental landscape plant has helped the butterfly populations rebound a bit.”  According to Featured Creatures:  ” the Atala butterfly was thought to be extinct from 1937 until 1959 (Klots 1951; Rawson 1961). Although still considered rare with limited distribution, it is now found in local colonies where its host plant, coontie (Zamia integrifolia Linnaeus. f.), is used in butterfly gardens or as an ornamental plant in landscapes. ”  According to BugGuide where it is called the Atala Hairstreak:  “considered by FL to be a ‘Species of Greatest Conservation Need’ (SGCN).”  We are excited not only because of the rarity of the Atala Hairstreak, but also because though it is found in the Caribbean, North American sightings seem to be limited to southern Florida.  We cannot imagine how this gorgeous Atala Hairstreak found its way to central Virginia.  You might want to contact the Prince William Conservation Alliance and the Butterfly Society of Virginia to report your significant sighting.

Subject:  Brown moth? Butterfly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Atchison
Date: 07/24/2019
Time: 02:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  On anise hyssop & butterfly bush.  Have seen since early spring
How you want your letter signed:  Rose

Silver Spotted Skipper

Dear Rose,
This is a Silver Spotted Skipper, and we are posting your image because it illustrates the namesake silver markings.  We posted an open winged view of a Silver Spotted Skipper yesterday.  Though Skippers are often thought of as having characteristics of both moths and butterflies, they are classified as butterflies.