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Common Sootywing (Pholisora catullus)

Common Sootywing (Pholisora catullus)
Photo Information
Copyright: Ron Warner (tuslaw) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-09-03
Categories: Insects
Exposure: f/8, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-09-03 18:35
Viewed: 2958
Points: 14
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
It may not have a lot of color, but this Common Sootywing has a beauty all to it's own. I took this photo this afternoon while on lunch break at work. This tiny butterfly is sitting on a Green-Headed Coneflower and seemed to enjoy the warm rays of the sun.

Subfamily: Spread-wing Skippers (Pyrginae)

Identification: Upperside is glossy black with small white spots on outer third of forewing. Female has more white spots on the forewing than the male, and a submarginal row of spots on the hindwing. Underside of forewing repeats the upperside; hindwing is solid black.

Life history: Adults bask with the wings spread open. To find receptive females, males patrol near the ground in sunny places; mating takes place in the morning and afternoon. Near midday, females lay eggs singly on the tops of host plant leaves. Caterpillars live and feed within shelters of folded leaves. Caterpillars of the second brood overwinter in their silk-lined leaf shelters and pupate within them in the spring.

Flight: Two broods; from May-August in the north, March-November in Texas.

Wing span: 1 - 1 5/16 inches (2.5 - 3.3 cm).

Caterpillar hosts: Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album), amaranths (Amaranthus), and cockscomb (Celosia).

Adult food: Nectar from many flowers including dogbane, marjoram, oxalis, white clover, common milkweed, peppermint, cucumber, and melon.

Habitat: Open or disturbed areas such as landfills, vacant lots, gardens, roadsides, fields, and pastures.

Range: Central United States south to central Mexico. Strays and colonizes to southern British Columbia, northern Michigan, southern Quebec, and southern Maine. Does not occur in peninsular Florida.

eqshannon, jaycee, soccer, jpdenk has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To jusninasirun: Common Sootywingtuslaw 1 09-03 19:01
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Ron. Nice sharp detail of this skipper. the framing of this well exposed image is very good and pleasant. well done and TFS. Jusni

Navarre...isn't that just a small a ways from you? Nice area once one gets out or east or SW from Massilon...north doesn't count for a few dozen miles:-) Hmmm...I have never heard of this flower before...Strange....I have not yet looked but may get a chance tonight...is it related to the purple coneflower?/ Is it some sort of garden plant? How unusual...Nice butterfly although he is overwhelmed by the flowers...might be a good hiding place for a colorblind predator:-)

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-09-03 20:38]

Hi Ron,

This butterfly didn't need a lot of color posing on this very vivid yellow flower. The subtle earthtone colors are beautiful. I love the shape of the Skipper. Your usual excellent clarity and lovely composition.


  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2008-09-03 20:40]

Hello Ron,
Fantastic capture, this is a great POV. You composed very well
and the image is sharp and colorful.. Well done!
Ps.. Nice to see your photos again after being gone for a



A good compoition that displays good detail and clarity of the subject. It is also sharp and the POV and DOF good too.


Hi Ron,

Nice sharp image of this handsome little butterfly, good exposure too. I think it might be a better composition if cropped a bit more tightly, but that's a minor thing.


Hello Ron,
good shot of this tiny butterfly on this lovely coneflower, good sharpness and depth of field, beautiful vivid colors and nice details.

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