Checkered Skipper

By William T. Hathaway

Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus communis)

Skippers are quite different from other butterflies. Their stout bodies and broad heads are significant. The terminal broad clubs (with hooked tips) on widely separated antennae are obvious. Skippers are rapid flyers, and they dart from flower to flower as though skipping along. Unlike most butterflies, the Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus communis) holds its wings in a horizontal plane while basking or resting on a flower.

With a wingspan from just 19 to 32 mm this species would ordinarily be overlooked. However, the black and white color of this little skipper is conspicuously visible as it zaps from one cluster of weedy field asters to another. It is surprising that the checkered skipper can be found flying as late as mid-October.