South Jersey Butterfly Project
Garrett Family Preserve, Cape May
Cape May County, NJ
Mystery butterfly photos, as requested.
[Karen posted her report on June 6 which was the day of her sighting. I choose to use today's date in hopes of drawing attention to it.
I believe these photos are of a dusted skipper. All comments and opinions are welcome.
In her first report, Karen only submitted the oak leaf photo and I spent a long time puzzling over it. After receiving additional photos, I enlisted help from Wade and Sharon Wander and from Brian Johnson. Sharon believes the bfly is a dusted sk. The additional photos that Karen sent included the shot that shows a white face, although the white around the eyes is missing. The fw markings are consistent with how some m. dusted sk's appear. Dusted sk's can be highly variable in their appearance. In Cech and Tudor's Butterflies of the East Coast, they make note of two variant forms: hianna and loammi. In my personal experience in NJ, I have seen and photographed variations of this species.
If this butterfly is a dusted skipper, it is a significant find. The only location in CMY where they have previously been found was along the Dennisville rr tracks. The last report was 6/2/2009.
In the first 5 years of the SJBP log, dusted sk was only reported in a few places in small numbers in three counties: CMY, BUR, and GLO. Slowly, our other SJBP counties joined the list which is now complete. Many of the current dusted areas hold large populations.
Is dusted skipper increasing its range and numbers in SJ or are observers now more attentive and interested in seeking this species? -jm]
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