Here are the official photos of the newest member of the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area butterfly family! This cute little guy has a wingspan of 26 mm. Remember the "wing terminology" post from last month? Notice the large black patch on the forewings in the photo below? That is the stigma, which indicates this is a male butterfly.
The Sonoran Skipper (Polites sonora) is very similar to but more common than the Mardon Skipper (Polites mardon), a Washington State Endangered Species and a Federal Candidate Species. The wings of the Mardon are more "stumpy", the forewings being smaller in proportion to the hindwings than the Sonoran Skipper. Both species fly low to the ground and resemble large houseflies buzzing about, so they often go unnoticed. Larvae of these species feed on grass, primarily fescue (Festuca sp.).
For more information about the Mardon Skipper, start with the Butterfly Conservation Initiative website, and a quick Google search will point you to many other resources.