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.

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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