LBJs

Butterfliers have a term (probably borrowed from the birders) for butterflies that are difficult to identify.  “LBJ” stands for “little brown job.”

In the last few days I have been photographing some butterflies that can best be called LBJs.  They are grass skippers–small, active butterflies that have a unique way of resting that reminds people of jet fighters.

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This is a little glassy-wing, Popmeius verna.

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This is the butterfly when its wings are closed.  It has a bunch of subtle little light marks on a dark brown background.  But sometimes the markings are very faint, especially on worn individuals.

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On the same milkweed and at the same time there were a couple of these butterflies.  They look very similar, but don’t have the markings.  Or do they, and are they very faint?

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This is the skipper at rest.  I think it is a dun skipper, Euphyes vestris.  On about six common milkweed plants along the edge of the road there were at least two dun skippers and a half dozen little glassy wings.

About a week later I found this skipper in our flower garden:

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This is a crossline skipper, Polites origenes.  Looks kind of  similar to the other two, doesn’t it?

Here is what it looks like in the jet fighter pose:

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I am pretty certain on the IDs of these butterflies–maybe not quite as certain on the dun skipper as for the others.  What tips the scales is that I have a number of photos of the same individuals, so I can see some of the markings from different angles.

These butterflies are sometimes called “witches” because no one can tell which is which.

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About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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