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Southern Skipperling - Copaeodes aurantiaca

Southern Skipperling - Copaeodes aurantiaca
Pima Canyon, Santa Catalina Mts, Pima County, Arizona, USA
July 31, 2007
Orange Skipperlings can be problematic. Can anyone help ID - Is this an Orange, Southern, or Tropical Least?? None of the above??


Locale stongly favors Orange skipperling
since Southern skipperling is not a resident. A stray ? Southern skipperling is primarily a Gulf coast resident.

Should be moved then
to genus, or to aurantiacus. No rush but let's not give a probably false minima record for AZ :)

Apparently less than a dozen minima specimens have ever been confirmed in AZ. Let's go with the odds.

I've grown wiser since 07 - I generally stay away from IDing western leps now. :-)

Sure wish
I'd seen the underside. When I came home and attempted to ID it, I became aware of how important that was. I sent in the ID request "on a wing and a prayer," hoping someone had another way of IDing. No pun intended, no offense taken.

I Don't Know Bob....
I don't know what the identification was based on. Looks to me like the wing fringes are more clearly dark than orange. I trend more toward your initial notion of C. aurantiaca. C. minima is a noticably smaller species. With all your experience with C. aurantiaca I think you would have observed the difference.

Why the condescending tone? The sizes of these two species overlaps considerably and is negligable for ID purposes unless the size is clearly on the small side of minimus or the large side of aurantica. Given the photo at hand, the hindwing seems to more closely match minimus and the wing fringes you mention are not the least bit diagnostic between the two species. You may be right about it being aurantiaca, but the one certain diagnostic characteristic that seperates the two - the ventral side of the hindwing - is not visible, and thus one cannot be 100% certain on the ID here, but can only rely on the evidence at hand. So I don't understand the need for the condescension toward Bob. Perhaps we should move this to genus level for now? Check out this plate and see what you think.

What's so condescending about saying "I don't Know" and trending towards Bob's initial sense about this specimen?

I either agree or don't know about everything else you wrote. I would hope, but really don't know, that all the images on that plate are presented to scale.

I am glad you were, presumably, subscribed to this page.

That part was fine. I just felt it was condescending the way you commented on his experience with aurantiaca and came across as being a bit miffed that he didn't observe a difference that really wasn't easily observed. It was as if you were saying, "With all your experience you should've caught that." I mean no offense, but that last sentence just came across as a bit condescending. It may have been just the way I perceived it, so no offense meant to you.

The two sources I checked indicated that the two species do not overlap in size (14-20mm vs 24-29mm). When I saw that on a plate, (as opposed to, or in addition to, measurments etc.) I was misled to state that the difference was noticable. Bob would have noticed it, not should have noticed it.

I'm still under the impression that Southern Skipperling is a tiny butterfly, literally "the smallest North American skipper" (which is not to say there can't be any overlap). Help me.

If it were only that easy
The more accurate average size range from numerous sources (including several experts I converse with on a semi-regular basis) is 16-22mm vs 18-29mm with a considerable margin of overlap. I had a Southern Skipperling specimen in my old collection from NC that was 21mm. When I was in central Texas I collected both species in the same field and no observable difference in size was noticeable in situ, but only upon collection and mounting, whereby accurate measurements revealed the sizes (hence my contention that Bob would not be likely to casually notice such minuscule size differences - if any, depending on the size average of that geographic population of minimus). Of course all of this is a moot point because Bob wasn't able to obtain a size for this specimen ... looking at a photo won't give the slightest clue in regard to specimen size without something else in the photo to use as a size reference. And so we only have the appearance of the specimen in the photo to go by. My inclination is that by appearance, this looks like a Southern Skipperling. But I'm not necessarily disputing your leanings toward aurantiaca, especially since that species is more widespread in Arizona. That's why as I mentioned early, perhaps it may be best to move this to genus page pending an expert ID.

Thank You
Thanks for sharing your experience. Easy isn't always as interesting or enlightening. There's always more to everything.

Probably Copaeodes mimimus

Moved from Butterflies.

Can't Wait To Find Out
I can't wait to find out what it is. It's beautiful whatever species it is! Great shot, too!

Kenneth for the compliment on image. Still don't know for sure what it is, but if I had to guess, I'd say it's probably an Orange Skipperling - Copaeodes aurantiacus. Wish I could get confirmation. I've seen quite a few C. aurantiacus, this one looks a little different and that's why I put in the ID request.

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