Skippers: Tiny Butterflies That Pollinate Our Gardens

This year we planted some Zinnias to attract butterflies to our garden. One of the most common visitors were the tiny Skipper butterflies. These come in a variety of colors and sizes, but most are very small in relation to the other varieties of butterflies you commonly see visiting your neighborhood.

They Are Not Called “Skippers” for Nothing!:

As you can see in these photos, these butterflies bounce from flower to flower gathering nectar and at the same time gathering pollen from the anthers of the flowers as it attaches to their bodies so they transfer this to other flowers. They also like to visit the flowers in your garden boxes so you can have a lot of vegetables. Even though their flight seems like they are darting left and right, Skippers have very strong wing muscles and can reach speeds up to twenty miles an hour in flight.

Flowers also provide a meeting place for males and females to find each other for reproducing their young after mating. It seems that the butterflies often share the same flower heads with other insects like bees, and beatles.

A Different Attitude:

One characteristic of these little butterflies is the angles at which they hold their wings when resting on a flower. Instead of having their wings out parallel to the flower top, these butterflies hold them swept back together against each other on their backs. They will also open them slightly as they move around the flower tops.

Interestingly there are over 3,000 species of Skippers world wide. Some even feed at night like the Peruvian Skippers.

Often Confused With Moths:

Since Skippers look so different than most butterflies they are often confused with their Lepidopteran cousins, the moths. One way to quickly tell the difference is to look at their antennae. Moths have featherlike antennae while butterflies have thin antennae with a club-like nodule on their ends. Moths more commonly feed at night (nocturnal) while most butterflies are (diurnal,) feeding in the daylight. The bodies of moths tend to be plump covered with thick hair, while butterflies are more streamlined and often free of hair.

Sipping Nectar

Take a Closer Look:

As you take the time to watch them you can clearly see they are marvelously designed for what they do. Where do you think this thoughtful design originated?

I am often reminded of all the evidence God left us in His Creation. Everywhere you look there are testimonies of His care and provision. Each creature was formed to bring Him glory and praise. Each one has an important role to play in the bigger realm of the cycles of nature established by Him in the beginning. Do you know your Creator? Do you know your purpose? You can find answers to these questions in God’s Word, the Bible.

Why not go out in your yard or to a nearby park and watch the Skippers play. Take some time also to think about your role in Creation.