Tropical Checkered Skipper Butterflies Pyrgus oileus
This Tropical Checkered Skipper Butterfly is sipping nectar from a Tassel Flower. They also nectar on Broomweed, their host plant, which you can see a female Tropical Checkered Skipper Butterfly laying eggs on in the two photos below:
Tropical Checkered Skipper Butterfly, Pyrgus oileus
Tropical Checkered Skipper Butterfly, Pyrgus oileus
Tropical Checkered Skipper Butterfly, Pyrgus oileus
Tropical Checkered Skipper Butterfly, Pyrgus oileus
I didn't know which Checkered Skipper I'd photographed when I first posted this page, but Tim Adams sent me an email to tell me. I've spent a lot of time since his email chasing skippers through all sorts of weedy fields to get better photos, hoping to find a Common Checkered Skipper or a White Checkered Skipper and photograph it so I could compare them and learn to identify each. I haven't found any except what I think are Tropical Checkered Skippers, so I'm putting his identification information here for the Tropical in case I run into one later, and in case you want to know too.

When you were a kid, did you ever play the game where the teacher has you write down directions, for example on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and another kid had to follow your directions to the letter? I did that once in middle school, and it helped me with one of my college writing classes. It sounds so simple, but try it (the sandwich often ends up inside-out; it's really funny!) Here's an example of how easily it can become confusing without face to face verbal communication:

Tim wrote, "The easiest way to tell is look at the Tropical Checkered Skipper with wings open as they do most of the time. Look in the center of the forewing at the large up and down white spot that is almost hour glass shaped, once you find that then look just to the right, there will be a single white spot going left to right or east to west which ever you prefer. If that spot is there, then you have a tropical."

Ok, simple enough, let's look:

Fortunately, he sent me links to photos to compare to. I believe the dots in question are toward the outer tips of the wing from the hourglass spots.

We're not done; next we check:

"Also look on the very tip of the forewing and there should be a single small white dot just inward of the tip. With these 2 dots you have a tropical for sure. The Common checkered skipper does not have either of these. However these spots range in size and brightness and can be tricky, usually you need close focusing binocs to see these spots. The Common check sometimes has a small spot beside the hourglass spot which can be confusing, but it will not have the small spot at the wing tip."

Um, the whole butterfly is white dots! Ok, not the two on the edge, so it must be that tiny dot near the edge:

Tropical Checkered Skipper Butterfly, Pyrgus oileus
I'm going to email him to see how well I did on this pop quiz, and I'll update this page when I hear from him, or when I get better photos.

Update - I got a great score on it :)

I nearly forgot girls vs. boys! He told me, "Also watch out for the difference between male and female, the males are brighter white and tend to have lots of hairs on their wings which sometimes appear bluish, the females are darker overall and without the hairs." I'll work on that later.
Tropical Checkered Skipper Butterfly, Pyrgus oileus
Tropical Checkered Skipper Butterfly, Pyrgus oileus
Tropical Checkered Skipper Butterfly, Pyrgus oileus
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