At first, I thought it was a moth because of its furry, thick and plump body, but after a closer look, the antennas were not that of a moth. So if it’s not a moth, then what is it? It’s a skipper!
“Dear nature, I have just gotten through devoting hours and hours to creating a presentation on the difference between a moth and a butterfly, and then you throw me this major curve,” I said.
“Got to keep you on your toes!” Nature replies.
In a recent post, we looked at the mutualistic relationship between a yucca plant and a yucca moth. Now let’s add two other species that have a relationship with yucca plants- a butterfly from the genus Megathymus- Giant Skippers. The Cofaqui Giant-Skipper and the Yucca Giant-Skipper rely on the yucca plant to continue their life cycle.
While yucca moth caterpillars drop to the ground and dig into the dirt to proceed to their next life cycle- cocoon and butterfly caterpillars cling to plants or underneath your birdbath to complete its metamorphosis- chrysalis; this particular caterpillar will weave together fresh growth leaves of a yucca plant. Within a few or more days, it will burrow into the center stock of the plant, where it will continue the next phase.
Watch this great video: Bug Bytes Yucca Giant-Skipper – Bing video
I was fortunate enough to be at the right place while the morning dew was still evaporating to capture a few macro shots before the sun rose higher. It was definitely a better day at Chass!
The life cycle of these giant skippers as adults is short-lived, so it’s essential to understand that we should observe cautiously and carefully for them to continue their species.
When taking photos, some things are good to know if you are venturing out for a bioblitzing day. Now, not all of the time are you able to get all the angles and photos that you need, and obviously, you can’t tell wildlife to stay, open your wings, turn to the left, turn to the right, move a couple of steps in the light, that would be too easy. But understanding the most crucial part of nature photography and bioblitzing is to be MINDFUL of what you are photographing.
Be safe in your travels.