Sunday, September 26, 2010

Funereal Duskywing

This butterfly, nectaring from cosmos in my August garden, could be in formal attire or dressed in mourning colors with a white petticoat showing under the black dress.  It's the descriptively named  Funereal Duskywing with sooty wings and white fringe along the edges of the hindwing.  This lovely Funereal Duskywing , Erynnis funeralis is just one example of the skipper butterflies.  Taxonomists do not consider skippers to be “true” butterflies because they differ in so many ways.  For example, skippers look a little like moths with their stocky, feathery bodies and big, cute eyes.   The tip of a skipper’s  antennae has a curved, pointy club. To me it looks like a sickle or a pointed hockey stick.  True butterflies’ antennae do not curve back.   As this Duskywing demonstrates, skippers are usually cloaked in subdued shades of charcoal, chocolate, amber, copper, or bronze.   Larval host plants for the Funereal Duskywing include alfalfa,  indigo, vetch, and rattlebush.  Remember, if you want butterflies, you have to provide food for the babies and nectar for the adults.