Plant-Insect Interaction: Silver-spotted skipper on Russian sage

Silver-spotted skipper (Epargyreus clarus, Hesperiidae) feeding on Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia, Lamiaceae). Photographed 08/02/2010 in Palmyra Michigan.

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia, Lamiaceae) is perhaps my favorite garden perennial.  It’s a small woody bush that grows in an upright habit.  It requires almost no watering or care.  It’s covered in interesting and attractive deeply-lobed leaves.   It even looks cool in the winter.  My favorite feature of this plant, however, is the fact that it forms tall purple flower spikes that attract a variety of insects.

One such insect, seen above, is the silver-spotted skipper (Epargyreus clarus, Hesperiidae).  Hesperiid butterflies are easy to identify based on their recurved antennae (the tips curve backward).  If you look closely you can also see the butterfly’s proboscis reaching into the flower.  This is a typical example of a dispersive mutualism:  the butterfly gains nectar and the plant gains pollination.


About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Organism Interactions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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