Dark Skipper ID

molanic(Zone 5 IL)July 8, 2014

For the first time a few days ago I saw a small black butterfly, took some pictures and still can't figure out what it is. Then yesterday I see it again and take some more pictures. Upon comparing them though I'm not sure it is the same species even.

I'm fairly certain they are both spread wing skippers at least. I thought the first one was maybe a common sootywing even though it didn't total match my book or online images. It had an iridescent quality to it that changed with the light sort of like a grackle. I read that newly emerged sootywings look like this and then it fades and is duller looking as it ages.

Then the second butterfly when checking the photos has a different look and I'm wondering if it isn't a juvenal's duskywing? I submitted the first butterfly to BAMONA and am waiting to hear back. I will probably submit the second set of photos too, but haven't done so yet. Just wondering what you all think. The light photos I overexposed to try and see the markings better, but from a distance they all looked really dark. One thing that keeps throwing me is that the body and head are all dark on both of them, but online other pictures usually show significant white spots on the head.

common sootywing?

juvenal's duskywing?

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bernergrrl(z5 IL)

Looks like it might be a Wild Indigo Duskywing? They're pretty hard to tell apart, but the coloring, and those white spots, how they are a little all un-aligned, reminds me of Wild Indigo. Also, on the underside, the pic doesn't show the white spots on the underwing that Juvenal's are supposed to have. Such pretty butterflies when you take the time to look.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 7:54AM
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molanic(Zone 5 IL)

Geez, it looks like the Wild Indigo one too! Even when you are looking at a group of confirmed photos of one of these species they can all look so different. The lighting and the angle of the photo make such a difference too. The first and second photo were taken just a couple of minutes apart from a slightly different angle and the coloring looks totally different. Just with my bare eyes the one the first day was darker with less obvious markings on the tops of the wings. The second day one actually landed on my Japanese beetle killing bucket while I was using it, and sat there for a few minutes so I got a really good look at it....not that it helped me much with an id. I will submit the second set of photos to BAMONA and see what they say.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 12:59PM
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molanic(Zone 5 IL)

Just got the e-mail from BAMONA and you were right, they are both Wild Indigo Duskywings! I had never seen anything like that before so it is completely new to me. I do have wild blue indigo and wild lupine which are both listed as host plants, so I will have to keep my eye on them.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 4:12PM
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