Sunday, June 26, 2011

European Skipper an Invasive Butterfly

Earlier today I spent most of the morning and early afternoon surveying butterflies as part of the St Paul Audubon's Annual Butterfly Count. The count is held each year at the Arden Hills Army Training Site, more commonly referred to as AHATS.
Since AHATS is a secured military training facility that is under the control of the Minnesota National Guard it takes special permission to get access. This is one of the reasons that I enjoy working on the survey because I get the opportunity to see a little bit of the wildlife that can be found in this large mostly natural expanse. Unfortunately weather hampered this years count and the cloudy skies and wind held down the number of species that we found.
The main butterfly that we saw on the count was the European skipper. This invasive species was accidentally introduced to North America back in 1910 in London, Ontario. Since then it has spread through out much of the continent. It lays its eggs in strings on a larval host plant, mostly grasses, and then overwinters as an egg. In the spring the caterpillars will eat the grasses until maturing and then will pupate. In Europe these butterflies are known as the essex skipper.




8 comments:

Genie said...

You are one lucky person to be working in such a place.This butterfly is beautiful, and your precious lavender spiderwort from your last post is gorgeous. I have my butterfly book back out on the front porch ready to identify my visitors, but as yet I have had only one or two. I am worrying where there are. I hope they come home soon. Genie

Linda Makiej said...

Really marvelous macro shots!!

lotusleaf said...

Nice macro shots and the article accompanying them was very interesting and informative.

Teresa said...

So neat that you really get a chance to see nature undisturbed during this count!

Jama said...

A pretty little fella!

Kala said...

I love the eyes!

mostly macro said...

Hiya,
I'm showing a very colourful moth I found today (Callimorpha) and wonder if you have similar ones where you are.
If yes, than not everything European is as invasive as you suggest:-)

Frank said...

I was quite surprised to see a species I know so well here on your blog.