Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nature Journal: When is a moth not a moth?

Sachem Skipper
(Atalopedes campestris)
Do you know the difference between a butterfly, a moth, and a skipper?  According to our field guide, this is a female Sachem Skipper, characterized by "hindwings that are brown below, with pale band," and wings that are "brownish orange and brown above."  Although there are several differences between butterflies and moths, an interesting thing that we learned is that butterflies' antenna tips are swollen, or clubbed.  Moth antannae are feathery or threadlike, and the antenna tips of skippers are hooked.  If you look closely, you can see the hooked end of the antenna on the right, above.  Skippers seem to "skip" from flower to flower, and this one didn't sit still for long, but she enjoyed the purple flowers and didn't stray far.


Ticia said...

I love the picture. I'd forgotten about skippers

Phyllis said...

Skippers are not well known.