Small Skipper - Thymelicus sylvestris

    Description

    This 'golden' Skipper is often found basking on vegetation, or making short buzzing flights among tall grass stems. Despite its name, the are four skipper species found in the British Isles that are either the same size or smaller than the Small Skipper. The male is distinguished from the female by the sex brand on its forewings, which is a slightly curved line of specialised scent scales.

    Similar Species

    The Essex Skipper looks very similar but has completely black tips to its antennae. With the Small Skipper, the tips are black on the dorsal surface and orange underneath. A good view of this feature is needed to distinguish the two. The Large Skipper can easily be distinguished by the dark mottling on its wings.

    Photo ID?
    Habitat

    This species inhabits rough grassland, where tall grasses grow, and may occur on roadside verges, beside hedgerows, on overgrown downland, in woodland clearings and along woodland rides.

    When to see it

    Adults are on the wing in late June, through July and into August.

    Life History

    It has just one generation per year. The main food plant is Yorkshire-fog, a common grass in the British Isles, although other grasses are also used.

    UK Status

    This butterfly is widespread in southern Britain, living in discrete colonies of both small and large populations.

    VC55 Status

    Common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

    Reference
    57.006 BF1526

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map