Observation of the week – June 26 to July 2, 2021

I hope you all had a restful long weekend filled with butterflies. It may not seem like it as these hot and humid summer days ravage on, but if you can believe it, we are already halfway through our 2021 CVC Butterfly Blitz project! In another eight weeks we will be turning the corner to Fall and another project year will have come and gone. We have come a long way since this project started.

In the first year of the Butterfly Blitz in 2019 there were a total of 55 butterfly species observed. In 2020 there were 64 species, and now – halfway through the 2021 project – we are already at 58 species! There is no doubt in my mind that our 2021 observations will surpass last year’s total. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if exceeded our 2020 record and set a new goal for next 2022?

Of course, we would not be here without our observers who are out on a regular basis searching and collecting these important pieces of data. Every butterfly counts. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far, and if you haven’t yet, there’s still time!

Now onto this week’s OOTW, seen by participant @donscallen. This tiny little brown butterfly may look like a moth but is part of the Skipper family (Hesperiidae). This butterfly is known to have a transparent white spot on its wing. Any guesses? It’s the Little Glassywing!

Both male and female Little Glassywings have dark blackish brown wings with distinctive markings on their forewings. These markings are translucent, which is how the Little Glassywing got its name. If you can get close enough, these markings are distinctive in determining which sex you have. From above, both sexes have off-white markings with one spot that will be larger than the rest. For males, this prominent marking is slanted across the forewing in an elongated rectangular shape. In females, this marking is more prominently square.

To make identifying the Little Glassywing a bit more difficult, the female Dun Skipper and the female Northern Broken-Dash are also small dark brown skippers with a series of pale wing markings. All three species are commonly seen flying at the same time, and butterfly watchers have given them the nickname “three witches” – referring to the difficulty of identifying them.

Don is an avid naturalist and is keen on exploring and sharing his love of nature through his articles for In the Hills magazine. Spending a day botanizing and butterflying provides many moments of inspiration, such as when he spotted over 100 Northern Pearly-eyes on an American Elm tree.

On this outing, Don had fun exploring the edge of the woodland and meadows at Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. He says: “Skippers are a diverse group, but the imported European skippers often dominate meadow sites. There is fun to be had searching for other species”. Don knew he had something other than a European Skipper when he spotted the Little Glassywing: “Being very dark, with sharply contrasting translucent patches on the wings, I knew I had something interesting”. Don was able to pull out his telephoto lens camera to capture the image without scaring the tiny butterfly away.

The Little Glassywing is a somewhat uncommon species in our area, but it seems to be expanding its range northward – so you may be seeing more of this butterfly in the future. If you are like Don and love exploring, dedicate some time to moist habitats such as open marsh meadows and fields near shaded woodlands, and keep an eye out for plants with purple, pink and white flowers as Little Glassywings are particularly attracted to these colours. You may find them collecting nectar on plants such as Selfheal, Joe-pye Weed, and various Milkweed species.

Post written by Lily Vuong (@lilyvuong), Crew Leader, Community Outreach

Anotado por lltimms lltimms, 08 de julio de 2021 a las 12:41 PM


No hay comentarios aún.

Añade un comentario

Entra o Regístrate para añadir comentarios