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Photo#225267
Which Skipper? (possible female Hylephila phyleus) - Hylephila phyleus

Which Skipper? (possible female Hylephila phyleus) - Hylephila phyleus
Arcadia, Los Angeles County, California, USA
September 13, 2008
Size: 1/2 inch +/-
I can't properly identify this Skipper after going through hundreds of the Skipper photos on this site. Is it a female Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)? For personal reasons, I hope it isn't.

yes
looks like a female Fiery but I'm not familiar with west coast species

 
Agreed
A couple of these from Orange County look close:
http://nathistoc.bio.uci.edu/lepidopt/hesper/fiery.htm

 
close...
Ron, I've seen that exact same webpage! They do look very similar, but the hindwing fringes on the Irvine fiery are a lighter brown whereas this fiery has darker brown hindwing fringes. Also, the spots are different in color. I'm no entomologist, so I don't know if a difference like these would give it another name or not.

 
I still think fiery.
Just looked at butterfliesandmoths.org to review all the grass skippers listed for LA county. The only other one I'd call a candidate is sandhill skipper, which, ironically, I'd recently misidentified as a fiery.

I'm no scientist, but you've hit on an ongoing problem - what makes up a species. There are two schools of thought, depending upon how broadly a species is defined. (I had a friend who worked for fish & game. Once, he was doing a rodent census and had to rub the jaw of small rats to tell what species they were. I think that's too fine a distinction!)

 
identifying species
Thanks for your information, Ron. I'll call it a female Hylephila phyleus for now. Can anyone recommend any good scientific books for learning more about how entomologists (or all biologists) systematically identify species?

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