Saturday, May 28, 2011
I'm not sure that this individual isn't actually helping its proboscis along with its leg.
Butterflies of this ilk were quite common in our garden. They would settle, with wings together, then slowly open them to warm in the sun.
This introduces the superfamily of what we refer to as "Skippers", perhaps the lesser lights of the butterfly world. They constitute the (super)family Hesperiidae (or Hesperioidea), as opposed to the "true" butterflies, the Papilionoidia. They appear to share many of the attributes of both butterflies and moths. The bodies are plump, the antennae pointed but swollen toward the ends, and the wings usually of duller colours and rather moth-like. And some are hard to identify! Steve Woodhall mentions four South African (sub)families in this group: Coeliadinae, Pyrginae, Heteropterinae, and the Hesperiinae.
I don't really know the ID of this butterfly, but let's try to narrow it down: Lepidoptera, Hesperiidae, Hesperiinae. From here possibly a Swift eg Borbo fatuellus? I'm sure the experts would know.