Skippers are a subfamily of butterflies. They can be a confusing as Fall Warblers for birders, or sedges for botanists. I don’t take sorting skippers too seriously. It is not worth fighting in the field with fellow butterfly enthusiasts. You call a skipper with me, you win
There are spread-wing skippers and grass-skippers, dusky-wings and cloudy-wings, the Silver-spotted skipper is probably the most distinct of all of our Ohio Skippers. The others blend together in shades of tans, browns and blacks. The Broad-winged skipper, Poanes viator is a rare to uncommon skipper; they tend to be localized, and due to habitat loss, they are becoming rarer. Typically associated with wetlands, their larva feed on common reed, wild rice, sedges and others.
This particular skipper was hanging out on a beautiful, but noxious weed at Mentor marsh. I am not one to denigrate a plant as a weed, but this invasive species, Purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria has long worn out its welcome in Ohio and many other states. For information on noxious weeds, you can go here. Yes, it is too bad that something so beautiful has wreaked such havoc on Ohio’s wetlands. So please, if you are harboring this bad-boy of botany in your yard, it is time to send it to the compost pile. Try replacing it with the better mannered Liatris, or Blazing Star. We both will be glad you did, and the butterflies will like it just as well.