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Large Skipper Butterfly - Ochlodes sylvanus

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Lepidoptera - Family: Hesperiidae

Large Skipper Butterfly , Ochlodes sylvanus

The Large Skipper is a butterfly of rough grassland, hedgerows, woodland edges and clearings.

Description

This golden-brown skipper butterfly has a typical wingspan of some 34mm, and there is a faint chequered pattern on both sides of the wings. This latter feature distinguishes it from the otherwise similar Small Skipper and Essex Skipper, bothe of which occur in Britain and Ireland and can be seen on the wing at the same time as the Large Skipper.

Large Skipper Butterfly , Ochlodes sylvanus, Wales

Distribution

In Britain this little butterfly is widespread in England and Wales, with its range petering out in southern Scotland. Large Skippers are not recorded in Ireland. Elsewhere the Large Skipper is common throughout most of mainland Europe and in the northern SAsia as far eastwards as China and Japan.

Lifecycle

The larval foodplants of the Large Skipper are rank grasses, particularly Cocksfoot Dactylis glomerata but also occasionally Purple Moor-grass Molinia caerulea.

Large Skippers lays their eggs on the underside of grass leaves during July and August. The caterpillars emerge and begin feeding before going into hibernation until winter is over.

In spring the caterpillars begin feeding again on grass. When fully developed in early June they pupate for about three weeks in the bases of grass tussocks, emerging later in June as winged adults.

Large Skipper butterflies take nectar from many kinds of meadow wildflowers but particularly brambles.

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Acknowledgements

This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Simon Harding and by the Countryside Council for Wales.


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