Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rare Species Found at Shawnee State Park

Just in from Shawnee State Park and Forest, in beautiful southern Ohio: Local man finds rare "purple morph" Zabulon Skipper. This stunner is a real eye opener and the crowds are starting to gather. Lepidopterist from across the country are headed to Scioto County to see this charming butterfly of violet hue.

You won't find this in your Butterflies of Ohio! This documentary photo, arrived in my e-mail just last night, shows the creature at rest. Zabulon skippers, Poanes zabulon are known to use several host plants in the grass family, including Purpletop Grass, Tridens flavus. Are we seeing a color morph due to long-term pigment retention from its host plant? This normally brown and golden butterfly is listed as uncommon to occasional, and most likely to be found in open woodlands and forest margins from April through September.

Local butterfly enthusiasts have suggested a sub-species name of Poanes zabulon april-foolsii!

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