North American Butterfly Association
Sandhills Game Land
Richmond County, NC
Mix of clouds and sun; very windy at times; high in the upper 70s. Watching Yucca Giant-Skippers interact is a thrill. At least 12 of these amazing aerialists were seen within a 0.3 area yucca stand that straddles longleaf pine savanna and grassy field habitats. Males were aggressively patrolling and defending territories — not only from rival males but also from other butterfly species, particularly Juvenal’s Duskywings. I even saw one attack a large grasshopper. Skirmishes frequently took place around an unvegetated patch of sand that appeared to be contested territory. Today’s skirmishes took place low to the ground, possibly because of wind; in the past, I’ve seen dogfights as much as 50 feet above ground. I was also impressed by the startlingly loud buzzing sound that this species can make with their wings when taking flight.
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