Late in a day, once the sun lessened its August gaze on the garden, I spied this skipper on a sunflower. It wasn’t nectaring, nor did it fly away as I watched. Was it settling in for an evening’s rest? Perhaps. Everyone, even busy pollinators, need their rest.
I think this skipper is a Eufala Skipper, Lerodea eufala, as described by the Butterflies and Moths of North America website. The site describes the Eufala as plain grey-brown, with several vague spots. But, it could be a Dun Skipper, Euphyes vestris, and if so, probably a female, as the same website mentions three “cloudy” white spots on the forewing. Both species are widespread in their North American distribution and common in Texas. Both skippers belong to the same Lepidoptera Family (Hesperiidae) and Subfamily (Hesperiinae). As well, these skippers use grasses or grass-like plants as their host plants, which are plants the eggs are laid on and that hatched larvae feed upon. The adult food sources differ just a bit, with the Eufala being the one who feeds from flowers the composite family of plants–plants like sunflowers.
I photographed top, bottom, and at each side, rushing my efforts in case the skipper became annoyed and took flight. It remained motionless.
I enjoy the intellectual exercise of identifying insects, even with my frustratingly limited background on types, species, and families. Thankfully, with a click of my mouse or a swipe of my phone, there are plenty of resources available when I’m searching for an answer to an insect question. In a case like this one, where the object could be one thing, or perhaps another, and where the identifier doesn’t have the training (or patience…), the answers for this amateur activity aren’t always definitive. And that’s okay.
I enjoyed watching this unobtrusive beauty: its quiet presence against the showoff summer flower was satisfying. While sleuthing insect answers increases my knowledge and appreciation of the garden’s goings-on, ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether I know exactly what sort of critter rests on the flower. The skipper’s existence is valuable because it is.
And that’s all that matters.