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Tropical Checkered-Skipper - Burnsius oileus - male

Tropical Checkered-Skipper - Burnsius oileus - Male
Daphne (Village Point Preserve), Baldwin County, Alabama, USA
March 25, 2009


I think they run about the same size. P. oileus might average a tad larger, but the extremes on the large end of the spectrum are about the same for P. oileus, albescens, and communis. Most of the other North American species run smaller though. I notice another misleading detail shown well in your photo. The books usually say that in P. oileus the fringe near the tip of the forwing is darker (dark coloring at the veins tends to be broadened and even sometimes to run together). However, in very light ones (like this one), this isn't always true.

The underwing is the only sure ID I know. I've tried the "long, blue hair" ID only to find it inconsistent. Still, comparing to my January Common Checkered, I agree with you. Thanks so much.

BTW if you have a fool-proof way to ID sex of Fiery Skipper, I'd appreciate you sharing.

I'm pretty sure
that this is a Tropical Checkered Skipper, Pyrgus oileus. Too bad we don't have the underside to look at. If you look at the overall arrangement of spots on the wings (you have to tip your head to the right), it almost looks like the spots form an eye pattern on each front wing. The fairly large oval spot in the middle of each "eye" is distinctive in P. oileus, and usually tiny or missing on P. communis and P. albescens.

Are They Smaller
I have wondered about these two for so long I start seeing things. I thought I've have noticed a distinct difference in sizes. Is the Common a little larger?

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