With practice, I have been getting better at identifying different species of butterflies. With some skippers, the first step to take is to make sure it actually is a butterfly. I learned an easy way to sometimes distinguish between a moth and butterfly. The coloration isn’t what gives it away- many skipper butterflies have similar dull color patterns as some moths however, some moths have distinct hairy antennae. This was a dead giveaway when trying to identify this one:
However, not all moths will have the easily distinguishable hairs on their antennae.
This one is missing the distinct hairs on the antennae but I also read that butterflies tend to have a little bulbs on the tips of their antennae. This moth is also missing those slightly thicker tips on its antennae. I am still going to look through the butterfly identification book I am using to be sure it is not a butterfly but for now it most likely isn’t.
This is an example of a thought process I go through while being out in the field walking the transects, looking through binoculars, and flipping through the identification book to be able to say which species of butterflies are present on the field.
And just because I thought it was really awesome, here is a picture of me standing next to a milkweed that was basically the same height as I am (5’3″). The monarch butterfly solely relies on milkweed as their host plant so it made me really happy to see this one growing so well!