Plant-Insect Interaction: Silver-spotted skipper on giant ironweed

Silver-spotted skipper (Epargyreus clarus, Hesperiidae) feeding on the nectar of a giant ironweed (Vernonia gigantea, Asteraceae). Photographed 09/12/2010 near Blissfield Michigan.

The silver-spotted skippers (Epargyreus clarus, Hesperiidae) are getting out of hand.  It seems like they’re everywhere this time of year, flying all over, feeding on a variety of flowers, and getting themselves trapped indoors.  Whenever I see them fluttering against the inside of a window I turn them loose.

In a floodplain forest full of stinging nettle, wood nettle, and Canadian clearweed, the isolated pockets of giant ironweed (Vernonia gigantea, Asteraceae) attracted a lot of these butterflies.  The nettles are all wind-pollinated, producing little nectar to attract insects.  The butterflies were looking for flowers that produce copious nectar, especially asters like this ironweed.

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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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