Skippers in our habitat garden

These are some of the skippers we've seen in our yard, though we haven't documented them all.

European skipper ?
(Thymelicus lineola)
 ©Janet Allen Skippers

As the Stokes Butterfly book says, skippers are in some ways intermediate between butterflies and moths. They always look to me like little jet fighters.

I know there are many non-native skippers. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the ones I see are European skippers, but I haven't tried to identify them yet.

HOST PLANTS: In general, grasses and legumes

More European skipper info at Butterflies and Moths of North America

Silver-spotted skipper
(Epargyreus clarus)
 ©Janet Allen Silver-spotted skipper

Silver-spotted skippers are somewhat common in my yard, though not as common as the European skippers unfortunately.

HOST PLANTS: Black locust and woody legumes

More silver-spotted skipper info at Butterflies and Moths of North America

Dreamy duskywing
(Erynnis icelus)
 ©Janet Allen Dreamy duskywing

Or is this an indigo duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae) or a columbine duskywing (E. lucilius)? This wouldn't be surprising because I have a number of wild indigo (Baptisia australis) plants, as well as columbines (Aquilegia canadensis), which are their host plants, respectively. The experts at say they're difficult to tell apart without knowing which plant it the eggs were laid on. (I'll try to find the eggs next year…)

At any rate, though, I think it's a good example of a butterfly (specifically, though, a skipper) that may not have spectacular colors, but whose shape and general appearance still is quite charming.

It's also a good example of the importance of caterpillar food plants—they're even named after them!

HOST PLANTS: Columbine, indigo (depending on species)

More dreamy duskywing info at Butterflies and Moths of North America

Columbine duskywing
(Erynnis lucilius)
 ©Janet Allen Columbine duskywing

I have a lot of native columbine, so it's not surprising to find this skipper.

It hibernates in the winter as a caterpillar.

HOST PLANTS: Native columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

More Erynnis lucilius at Butterflies and Moths of North America