Mmmm, sand! August 27, 2007
Mmm, sand! Gives a whole new meaning to liking a "dry" drink. ;)
Ok, that is just silly, but why does this Common Checkered-Skipper have his proboscis jammed into the sand? It is a common behavior displayed by butterflies, called puddling. Butterflies are often attracted to a damp spot of gravel or mud. They will often form whole groups or "puddle parties".
It is commonly believed that butterflies gain nutrients from the soil when they puddle. It is a great way to attract butterflies to your yard, and is the next step if you are serious about seeing your local lepidoptera. If you are seriously considering planting your own butterfly garden, remember nectar flowers are nice, but butterflies have to have HOST plants. And a nice, juicy mud-puddle or sand bath is like the local Star-bucks for butterflies. It is guaranteed to bring them in!
This spectacular skipper (who ever thought I would say a Skipper was spectacular?) was one of our better finds at Shawnee. Not only is it considered a visitor to Ohio, one I have never seen before, it is a Skipper that can be readily identified! It is not some non-distinct shade of tawny brown! This is a skipper to get excited about, and I hope you find them in one of your local "weed" patches soon! Be certain to check the Mallows- as that is their host plant.