For years I’ve been on a mission to change the name for these delicate, aerial masters from butterflies to flutterbies. I have two simple reasons: they actually flutter by when navigating from flower to flower and they are not, in fact, made of butter.
These are a few of the flitting beauties that I’ve encountered over the past few weeks, roughly in size order from largest to smallest. Left to right, top to bottom: Monarch (Danaus plexippus), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia), Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae), Dorantes Longtail Skipper (Urbanus dorantes), Tropical Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus oileus), Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis), Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius), Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole), Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus).
Last but not least, this brightly-colored caterpillar, and while not technically a flutterby, it does represent one life stage that all flutterbies must pass through.