Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Florida Butterflies 2

After meeting two lepidopterists at the Key West Botanical Gardens, we were able to easily identify this Fiery Skipper with the aid of their excellent butterfly field guide.  Having its back-wings more fully opened than its fore-wings indicates this butterfly is a grass skipper.  This skipper wanders north from Mexico and the southern United States.  Where weather permits, this species flies all year.  Often common, the larvae love lawn grasses.  The black, toothed margins of the hind wing is a field mark of the Fiery Skipper.
Back in Key West, Erika and I found a Gulf Fritillary, another southern species that wanders north in the summer.  The black-ringed white spots in the fore-wing are indicative of this butterfly.  They fly all year in frost-free regions. The larvae eat passion vines.

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