I photographed this skipper at NABA Butterfly Park, Mission, Hidalgo county, Texas at 1.52pm on November 08, 2008. I showed the pics on my small camera screen to a few of the Valley Leppers that night at the Harlingen Bird Festival, and we could not figure it out. In the end I suggested maybe a bright Dun Skipper (rare in the Valley) and we left it at that. Just over a year later I looked at the photos again, and felt that I needed to get expert opinion, as on the large computer screen things looked wrong for Dun Skipper. I sent the pics to Andrew Warren, and he quickly identified it a Butler's Skipper Mnasilus allubita. A widespread tropical species, it is found in Mexico at least as far north as Gomez Farias, southern Tamaulipas. It is a new species (and genus) for the U.S. Here is a link to the BOA page for this taxon: http://butterfliesofamerica.com/mnasilus_allubita.htm - NOTE: Andy has asked me to point out that my bug is a male, while the bottom image of a live individual on the BOA page (from Chiapas, Mexico) is of a female. My thanks to Andy Warren for his regular guidance with my grass skipper musings.
Features of note are:- the orange (not golden) color of the head; orange palps; prominent pale veins; and a series of small pale marks on the vhw that are short streaks rather than dots; Andy just pointed out also that there is a distinctive small black "gap" in the orange across the top edge of each eye (see 3rd image below):