Skipping Through Summer

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.

Timothy, going to seed

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.

On the grill

In spite of these losses, skippers abound, flitting among the flowers, little clowns on wings. Guaranteed to make me smile.

DSC01863 (1)


European skipper   Thymelicus lineola
Green lily/White camas    Anticlea elegans (aka Zygadenus elegans)
Rush   Juncus spp.
Timothy   Phleum pratense

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9 thoughts on “Skipping Through Summer

  1. I’ve never seen so many skippers that they get caught on cars. In fact, I can’t remember ever seeing butterflies mowed down by big, clunky machines. Perhaps I’ve not been observant, or maybe I just haven’t been on the roads at the right time. In any event, they are among the cutest butterflies in my book, and I really like that top photo. It’s double-cute!

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    1. The vehicle was a half-ton pickup, the front of which was filled with butterflies, bees and flies. A tough world out there. They were so visible in this case because the owner had installed a grill guard in front of his rad; otherwise the road kill would have caught on the rad and much harder to see.

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