Observation of the week – June 5-11, 2020

Our fifth observation of the week is this Silver Spotted Skipper seen by Nick (@nickuzhov) on the Elora Cataract Trail.

Silver Spotted Skippers have a large proboscis (i.e., tongue) – which is very visible in this photo as it is wedged into the clover flower. They are often seen visiting flowers, especially pink and purple ones, and spotting them while they are drinking nectar can be a great time to take a photo. Nick agrees, saying “it wasn't a troublemaker and allowed me to take the picture easily”.

Though Nick has been taking photos of butterflies for over a decade, he started in Russia and is still learning Ontario’s species. This was his first Silver Spotted Skipper, and he was helped in putting a name on it by the iNaturalist auto-ID feature. Silver Spotted Skippers are the largest skipper butterflies in Ontario. Their size, in combination with the bright orange band on their forewings and large silvery white spot on the underside of their hindwings, make them distinctive.

Silver Spotted Skipper caterpillars eat plants in the legume family (Fabaceae), including American Hog Peanut, American Groundnut, and Showy Tick Trefoil. They also love Black Locust Trees. Some people think that the Silver Spotted Skipper may have been uncommon or even absent from Ontario and other parts of northeastern North America before the early 1900s, when Black Locust became commonly planted in these areas.

In our first year of the Butterfly Blitz, I wrote a blog post about Silver Spotted Skippers. Even though they are a large and somewhat showy butterfly, there were only six iNaturalist observations of the Silver Spotted Skipper in the Credit River Watershed before 2019. This made them a good symbol of the relatively low level of butterfly surveying that had taken place in the watershed.

I am happy to report that the 2019 Butterfly Blitz added 25 additional Silver Spotted Skipper observations, and the 2020 Blitz another 52. These observations are well distributed throughout the watershed (see map here). I think that we are well on track to adding many more Silver Spotted Skipper points to that map by the end of the 5th year of the Butterfly Blitz! The same is true for many other butterfly species in our watershed, for which we are getting a better understanding of where they can be found each year.

This is all thanks to you, our wonderful Butterfly Blitz participants! Keep butterflying – we love seeing your observations and knowing that they are contributing such useful data.

Anotado por lltimms lltimms, 16 de junio de 2021 a las 07:25 PM

Comentarios

Great photo Nick. They’re big and showy, but sometimes very annoying to photograph as they are quick to nectar and take off.

Anotado por uofgtwitcher hace 5 meses (Advertencia)

Thank you @uofgtwitcher!

Anotado por nickuzhov hace 5 meses (Advertencia)

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