Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I believe this tiny brown skipper is a Dun Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) in the family Hesperiidae. These are common butterflies throughout most of the United States, but tend to be more prevalent in the central plains states and eastward. With a wingspan of 1 1/2 inches they are on the small side, and rather drably colored in brown. They do possess a rather impressive afro-like dun colored head and thorax. Females have distinctive cloudy white spots on their forewings. They are frequently encountered in wet areas such as swamps, stream sides, and damp deciduous hardwood forests. The males will perch low to the ground and wait for passing females. When a likely female is located; mating will occur. The female will seek the host plant, in this case it is various sedges. The female will lay eggs, in a couple weeks the eggs hatch and the young caterpillars begin feeding. They grow rapidly and will be ready to pupate and will overwinter as cocoons. The following spring they will emerge as adults. Planting various plants such as yarrow, sedum, and other purple or pink blooming flowers will surely attract them to your yard. This species seems to prefer wet conditions and have even been observed perching and sunning themselves shortly after a rain storm.