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Skipper ID please - Polites themistocles

Skipper ID please - Polites themistocles
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
June 8, 2007

Moved from Grass Skippers.

Expert ID - Polites themistocles
I sent your image to Dr. Andrew D. Warren who is one of the authors of the Butterflies of America website.
Dr. Warren sent me this reply:

This one is a challenge. The lack of prominent dFW apical spots, to
me, eliminates Wallengrenia spp. with confidence. My first impression was
Polites themistocles, and the more I look at it, I think that is what it
is. While the dFW stigma in the photo appears too big for themistocles,
the angle is probably responsible for giving the false impression of a
really broad stigma, as the photo is otherwise a very good match to this
So, I'm going with male P. t. themistocles on this one (which should be a
common species in that area)...

I appreciate the work that went into identifying the subject of my photo.

Male Northern Broken Dash?
That's my guess. It has the orange rectangular spot in the center of the FW, a two part black stigma, and tawny edge FW edge. Overall it looks very close and I've seen a lot of them in MN this week (a long way from you, though). I've only been getting the lower side shots except for a female so I don't have personal shots to compare.

Skippers are tough for me especially without upper and lower shots.


Thanks Mo
You're so knowledgable. Impressive. Looking at the other guide pictures for the Northern Broken Dash, I too see the similarity. I don't have enough confidence in the ID though to move it to the guide page. We'll see if someone else weighs in maybe.

Looks like a Fiery Skipper

Thanks again Ron. How certain are you? I've hesitated in moving this to the guide page because there are no other submissions from Ontario. Can anyone confirm this ID?

Sorry, not fiery
I now see the species is mostly in the American southwest, though there is evidence of sitings in New York. (None in New England, though.)

Skippers are tough to ID, and few will comment on them. If you can get a good butterfly book for your area, that may help. I'm unsure of the coverage of the Butterflies through Binoculars series, but if one covers Ontario, it'd be good to have.

Suggestion: Move your image here, and cross your fingers.
There's only one page of unidentified skippers, so perhaps things aren't as bleak as I've painted them.

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