Small Skipper - Thymelicus sylvestris
Family - Hesperiidae
This is a very common butterfly species which is widespread and resident in southern Britain with its range has expanding northwards in recent years, found throughout Europe except in the more northerly districts, also found in North Africa and the Middle East. The Small Skipper has a wingspan of 25mm (1in) where the upper wings are and orange brown colouration with dark margins, the underside of the wings is a yellowish orange tinged with greyish green. Males ♂ have a black line of scent scales. The Small Skipper can usually be found in flower rich grassy areas with typical habitats being unimproved rough grassland, downs, verges, sunny rides, and woodland clearings and edges.
Flying between May and September, it has one brood where eggs are laid in groups of about eight eggs at the base of various soft Grasses including Yorkshire-fog - Holcus lanatus which are the caterpillars main food plant. The eggs when laid are white, gradually turning a pale yellow, they hatch in about 20-25 days. Other grasses have also been listed as food plants for the Small Skipper including - Cock's-foot - Dactylis glomerata, Creeping Soft-grass - Holcus mollis, False Brome - Brachypodium sylvaticum, Meadow Foxtail - Alopecurus pratensis and Timothy - Phleum pratense. Both sexes are nectar-loving, and can be found visiting flowers such as Thistles and Red Clover, they hibernate as a Caterpillar in a tightly woven silk cocoon.
Bradley & Fletcher #1526
|Three photos above ©2010 Dave Miller|
Photo ©2006 J. Lance
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