Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

Cobweb Skipper, HESPERIA METEA

from the July 21, 2008 Newsletter, after a visit to Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area in northwestern Tennessee:

At our Ginger Bay camp in Tennessee a skipper landed in grass beside me. It was a little different from other skippers I remembered so I took its picture, hoping it would turn out to be something special. That's it above.

Though it didn't turn out to be really rare and it occurs over a large area -- from Minnesota east to Maine and south to Texas and Florida -- since the species hadn't registered to me before, I was tickled to find that it was the Cobweb Skipper, HESPERIA METEA, found on new grass in recently burned areas or cleared sites. Sparse, rarely-mowed grass at a lake's edge apparently fits its ecological needs.

I identified the species using the Audubon field guide. Though it's not particularly colorful or interestingly marked, somehow I derive enormous pleasure from admiring details of its anatomy -- the way white borders highlight its black, compound eyes, how sharp little spines project downward along its legs, the delicate fringe of dun-colored hairs of its wingtips.