Mariton: Butterflies

June 5, 2013

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager.  Photos by Carole Mebus.

MEBUS LittleWoodSatyrMariton0604-wingsOpen

Butterflies are really starting to get going at Mariton.  We saw a lot of Little Wood Satyrs (above) recently.  The caterpillars eat mostly grasses, but we find the butterflies along the edges of the woods.  While they may be a little drab, their interesting eye spots add a lot of character.  This was definitely the most common butterfly on Tuesday. 

MEBUS HoaryEdgedSkipperMariton0604

The Hoary-edged Skipper (above) is one of the skippers that I can identify easily.  The spot reaches the edge of its hind wing and has an indistinct margin.  (The similar looking Silver-spotted Skipper has a very defined margin to its spot.)  We see both the Silver-spotted and Hoary-edged Skippers at Mariton. 

MEBUS TawnyEdgedSkipperMariton0604

The Tawny-edged Skipper (above) is one of the many tiny skippers that I look at and just shake my head.  They all have little identifying marks.  I mean little; these are small butterflies and some of the identifiers are really obscure.  I am working on them slowly, but it will be years before I feel confident identifying  this class of skippers.  Digital cameras with good LCD displays are really helpful for butterfly enthusiasts, but you still need to know the little field marks.  Fortunately, Virginia is very skilled at identifying them.