Carterocephalus palaemon

The Arctic Skipper, Carterocephalus palaemon.

I like butterflies. A lot! It is always very exciting to meet a species of butterfly that I haven’t met before. I gain so much from the experience. This summer I had the privilege of meeting Carterocephalus palaemon. This is a butterfly I have been wanting to see in the field for a long time and have spent a bunch of time in appropriate habitat looking.

Kelly and I went backpacking up to Alpine Lake in the Sawtooth NRA, and sure enough, C. palaemon was hanging out in a high meadow. I chased a couple around with a camera and finally just enjoyed watching them going about their business. This butterfly is a species of concern in parts of its range, but not in Idaho.

In a perfect world I would have been able to follow a female to see what plants she lays eggs on, maybe found some caterpillars and learned what foods they eat. Maybe I would get to watch an Asilid take one as prey or learn how far they travel to find nectar plants and mates.

Just seeing them was cool, maybe next year I will get learn more about them. There are worse places to be than mountain meadows.




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