Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another new visitor drops in

When I went on my walk around the garden this morning, I decided to take my camera just in case something interesting turned up. I'm glad I did!

As I was checking on the veggie garden, I chanced to see an oddly-shaped, dull-colored butterfly flitting around the pepper plants.

This was my first shot of it. I didn't know if I would get another. It doesn't show much of the critter, but notice how the tips of the wings bend down. This is actually a clue to its identity.

I tried to maneuver so that I could get behind the butterfly to get an open dorsal view of the wings.

As I moved, what I had at first thought was a dull grayish-brown butterfly showed me that he had some iridescence in his wings.

And finally, the money shot! You can see the full shape of those wings that are perhaps 1 3/4 inches wide and appreciate their intricate mosaic of color. Do you know who he is? I didn't. I don't remember ever having see one of these before.

I went inside and uploaded my pictures and pulled out my Tvetens' Butterflies of Houston & Southeast Texas. As usual, the Tvetens did not fail me! My butterfly was a Sickle-Winged Skipper (Achlyodes mithridates), also known commonly as Bat Skipper because of those oddly shaped wings. Here's part of what the Tvetens had to say about him:

"A. mithridates ranges widely through South and Central America and the West Indies to southern Texas. It is a year-round resident in the southern tip of our state. While not a common Houston butterfly, it does wander northward along the coast and through the central portions of Texas, particularly from August through November."

Well, on November 9, 2010, one wandered north and into my yard. Thank goodness that for once I had a camera in my hands to record the event.

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