It is called “common” and frequent visitors to Eliza Howell Park can expect to see it several time from late May into September, but the Common Checkered-Skipper is not as numerous as many of the others in this series.
It is a small butterfly, with a wingspan of about 1 1/2 inches. As the only checkered-skipper likely to be seen in this area, it is easily identified. The colors vary somewhat, the male often with blue-gray coloring.
It is found in a variety of habitats, especially in fields and meadows, often low on plants or even on the ground.
The Common Checkered-Skipper is probably the most widespread skipper in North America (perhaps a reason for the name “common”), but southern Michigan is at the northern edge of its range. It spends the winter as a caterpillar, but according to different reports, not this far north. It wonders north only as an adult in the spring.
It almost always has its wings open when visiting plants. None of my photos is of an individual with closed wings.
Even very experienced butterfly enthusiasts remark how difficult it is to distinguish the many different small similar-looking skippers. I definitely agree and am including only the ones that I find most recognizable in this list of 23 butterfly species to watch in Eliza Howell Park in 2023. Two of these are the Silver-spotted Skipper (# 2) and the Common Checkered-Skipper.
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