Bug Day (9): Sandhill Skipper

Sandhill Skipper (Polites sabuleti)

This small butterfly (Sandhill Skipper Polites sabuleti) is a native of Western North America. The adults feed on the nectar of more or less any available flowers, like many other butterfly species. But the Skippers are a bit unusual in that many of them, including this species, specialize in feeding on grasses, such as Bermuda grass, bluegrass, saltgrass, bentgrass, and various fescues. So, not surprisingly, these butterflies are most often found on grasslands and similar habitat. We have a fair amount of that in the park. At our low elevation, there may be several generations of adults during the dry season. There’s a smaller subspecies that inhabits higher elevations where one generation per year is the norm. Once out of its chrysalis and in flight, the adult skipper’s life span is two to four weeks. They are said to be common and not under immediate threat, but their numbers are in gradual decline along with those of many other butterflies.

More about them: Wikipedia BAMONA JStor Science

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