European skippers are high on the Cuteness Scale, about a 9, I reckon. It’s hard not to love’em — big dark eyes, short knobby antennae, brassy orange wings.
Immigrants to North America, the first skippers landed in Canada in 1910 in London, Ontario. They arrived as eggs in a shipment of contaminated Timothy. By 1987 they had arrived in Alberta, no doubt helped by plentiful hay crops across the prairies that provided lots of food for the caterpillars.
It’s been a good summer for skippers, judging by the number I’ve seen on the wing. And sadly by the number I’ve seen plastered to vehicle grills. Casualties of the modern world.
In spite of these losses, skippers abound, flitting among the flowers, little clowns on wings. Guaranteed to make me smile.
European skipper Thymelicus lineola
Green lily/White camas Anticlea elegans (aka Zygadenus elegans)
Rush Juncus spp.
Timothy Phleum pratense