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.
This is a little glassy-wing, Popmeius verna.
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.
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?
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:
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:
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.