Observation of the week: July 31 to August 6, 2022

Hello Butterfly Blitz enthusiasts! Have you completed our survey about the wrap-up event on September 17th? We’re excited about planning this event and need your input about how it should be held. If you’re not on our email list and want to be, please let us know. Comment below and we'll get in touch.

This week’s OOTW is a Fiery Skipper, observed at the Riverwood Conservancy in Mississauga by Steph (@stephkeeler).

Fiery Skippers are not a common species in our area. The last time one was spotted in the Credit River Watershed was 2020. Side note – that observation won the best photo award for the 2020 Butterfly Blitz!

Their rarity is because the Fiery Skipper is one of our occasional breeding migrant species. The bulk of its populations occur further south in the US, but sometimes those populations expand and move north into Ontario. These incursions are more common in southwestern Ontario than in the Greater Toronto Area.

Although they reproduce here, Fiery Skippers never establish a permanent population in Ontario because they can’t survive the winter. The descendants of those individuals that move north die off and don’t migrate back south.

While it might be a welcome rarity here, in more southern parts of their range, Fiery Skippers can pests. This is because Fiery Skipper caterpillars feed on grass, which can cause dead, brown patches. The caterpillars also live on grass blades that they roll lengthwise and web into a shelter.

Fiery Skippers are generally found in open areas, such as grassy fields, lawns, roadsides, and meadows. In Ontario, they are often seen in ornamental gardens – especially near the lakeshore.

Like many skippers, the Fiery Skipper can be mistaken for a moth because of its brownish colouring, large eyes, short and knobby antennae, hairy and chunky body, and the positioning of its wings when resting. Their wings fold into a triangle shape while sitting, which is unique to skippers among the butterflies and more characteristic of moths.


Left: male Fiery Skipper, by @betcrooks Right: female Fiery Skipper, by @jemredwood

The Fiery Skipper received its common name from the orange and brown patterning on their wings, which resemble flames. But they are a sexually dimorphic species, which means that the males look different than the females – as shown above. The males are light orange on the underside of their wings with dark brown spots. The females are larger than the males, and they are grey-brown with orange and brown spots. Which one do you think looks more fiery? Let us know!

Post written by Stephanie Donison, Assistant, Natural Heritage Management and Laura Timms, Senior Specialist, Natural Heritage Management

Publicado por lltimms lltimms, 11 de agosto de 2022

Comentarios

Hi Laura and Steph,

I registered for emails through the CVC butterfly bioblitz webpage but I haven't received any emails yet. I can reach out in a DM and figure it out.
Thanks for running a fun butterfly bioblitz! Still have a few observations to upload still ;)

Publicado por lnegraz hace alrededor de 2 meses (Marca)

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