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Butterfly  Small Skipper

Small Skipper - Photo  Copyright 2003 Gary Bradley
Photo: G. Bradley

UK Safari Tip:
Need help identifying butterflies? Checkout the beautifully illustrated fold-out chart in the Nature Shop called "Butterflies of Britain" - click here

Latin name: Thymelicus sylvestris

Size: Wingspan approximately 30mms.

Distribution: Found throughout England and Wales.

Months seen: June to September.

Habitat: Meadows, roadside verges and gardens.

Food: Nectar.

Special features: The small skipper is a uniform orange-brown all over, but the males have a dark stripe running across their forewings. The club shaped ends of the antennae are black on top, and orange-yellow underneath.

Like the large skipper, the small skipper rests with its forewings and hindwings held apart at different angles, looking more like a moth than a butterfly.

Small skipper laying eggs - click for a better viewThe female lays her cream coloured eggs, in a row, inside a curled up grass stem.

When the caterpillar emerges, around August, it eats its eggshell, and then spins a cocoon, while still inside the grass stem.

It remains inside the grass stem for a further eight months. The following spring, it will re-emerge to feed on the fresh grass. By June or July, it will be a fully grown caterpillar, and will pupate at the base of a grass stem. After approximately two weeks the adult butterfly will emerge.


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  2006 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved