Posts Tagged ‘Atalopedes campestris’

Goldenrod was in full bloom on Wednesday at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, attracting all kinds of insects, including a little Skipper butterfly and a colorfully-patterned Ailanthus Webworm moth (Atteva aurea). I believe that the butterfly is a Sachem Skipper (Atalopedes campestris), although it is hard to be confident when identifying skipper butterflies—there are quite a number of similar looking species.

I love the intricate orange, black, and white pattern on the body of the Ailanthus Webworm moth, a type of ermine moth. This moth looks quite a bit like a beetle when it is at rest with its wings tucked in, but reportedly it looks like a wasp when in flight. I encourage you to click on the image to get a better look at the wonderful details of the two insects.

When I composed this image, I was conscious of the fact that my primary subject, which was initially the skipper, filled only a small part of the frame. However, I really liked the brilliant yellow of the goldenrod and framed the shot to focus viewers’ attention as much on the sweeping curve and color of the goldenrod as on the insects. The goldenrod became the co-star of the photo and therefore has equal billing in the title of this blog posting.

goldenrod and insects

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.


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Small skipper butterflies don’t stand out as much as their larger, more colorful brethren, but they have an understated beauty that I find striking. It’s a daunting challenge, however, to identify them.

According to Wikipedia, there are more than 3500 recognized species of skippers worldwide, so I don’t feel too bad that my identification skills are weak in this area. As I looked through images on-line, I came across one identified as a Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna) that looks a bit like the one that I photographed, though my confidence level in this identification is pretty low.

I am confident, however, that I like the image I captured of the little skipper. There is a pretty good amount of detail, the background is blurred, and the leaves on which the butterfly is perched makes for an interesting pose.

UPDATE: A butterfly expert has definitively identified this as a female Sachem (Atalopedes campestris). Thanks to Joe Schelling and Jim Brock for their assistance in identifying this little skipper.


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.


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