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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Skipper Graveyard

I was looking at the neighbor's passiflora vine/weed that is invading my yard from the other side of the six foot block wall between our domains and I noticed some skippers with their heads buried in the blossoms. I thought they must be resting, just waiting for the morning sun to warm their wings. And, this one did move a bit when I touched it. But looking closer I saw a lot of skippers in this position: dead, as is the out of focus one in the back of the photo.

In this second photo, the one in the flower is dead, as is the one caught in the sheet web to the right.

Is the passiflora nectar toxic? As their short lives are ending, do the skippers purposefully seek out these particular flowers to suck their last bit of paradise from? Or is it just a weird coincidence that some 15 or so butterflies were found heads down and expired on one obscure vine on one beautiful southern California morning? Better call CSi.

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