Down the Grass Skipper Rabbit Hole

(I hope you’re thinking, another post about little brown butterflies? YAY! I will NEVER get tired of little brown butterflies!)

I took this photo Monday afternoon.

When I got back from my walk, I did what I always do when I take a photo of a new butterfly species: I consulted my field guide and the excellent Wisconsin Butterflies website to identify it. If you’ve been reading my recent butterfly posts, I hope you recognize this as being some sort of skipper – fat body, little wings, kinked antennae. But it’s not a spread-wing skipper like the Dreamy Duskywing, and it’s not a skipperling like the Arctic Skipper, it’s something in the grass skipper subfamily. And grass skippers… well. Here is a screenshot of part (part!) of the grass skipper page on Wisconsin Butterflies.

It’s like being a new birder opening my field guide up to the sparrow page for the first time. Gah! There are so many! And they all look so similar! PANIC ATTACK!!!

…Um. So anyway. Based on the particular pattern of the dark markings on the wings, I’m tentatively calling this a Hobomok Skipper. Its larval host plant is grasses. I can’t really find a lot of interesting information about it, but eh, whatever, it’s pretty and I feel like I’ve achieved a new level of butterfly nerd-dom by diving down the grass skipper rabbit hole for the first time. Go me!

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9 thoughts on “Down the Grass Skipper Rabbit Hole”

    1. Just the macro setting on a little Canon PowerShot. For a point-and-shoot it does a really good job! You just have to have the patience (and lack of dignity) to chase butterflies around until they sit still long enough for you to snap a picture.

    1. I checked and there’s another related species with the official common name Least Skipper. Considering how similar all the little orange skippers look to each other, it’s not unreasonable to just call them all that! :)

  1. Hi Rebecca! Just stumbled across your page while I was researching & trying to identify a skipper. I, too, am a citizen of butterfly nerd-dom & NEVER tire of little brown butterflies. I agree with your identification of Hobomok Skipper. The orange tapers more up to the leading edge, whereas the Least Skipper seems to have a pretty blunt “block” of orange. Thank you so much for this post, as I am doing a butterfly presentation & have included a picture of (what I now know is) a Least Skipper. Yours truly in nerd-dom, a displaced Yankee naturalist in the south.

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