Large skipper

  • Scientific name: Ochlodes sylvanus
  • Type: Insects

Key information

As its name suggests, the large skipper is our largest skipper: small, orange, moth-like butterflies that can be seen flying at high speed over grassy areas, or nectaring on flowers. They usually rest on vegetation and flowers with their wings closed.

The large skipper is best identified by the obvious thick black line through the centre of its orange upperwings, which can be seen when it is at rest. The undersides of the wings have faint orange spots, giving them a chequered appearance.

This is a common butterfly of summer that is is found where grasses grow tall. Typical sites include meadows, hedgerows, roadside verges, woodland rides and woodland clearings. It can also be found in parks, large gardens and churchyards.

Females lay their eggs in sheltered spots in sunlight, where the grass grows tall. Eggs are laid singly on the underside of the leaf and can be found in July and August. They are white when first laid, gradually becoming orange. The caterpillars feed on coarse grasses, particularly cock's-foot.

What they eat:

Adults drink nectar from flowers; favourites include bramble. Caterpillars eat various grasses.

Measurements:

Wingspan:
33mm

Identifying features:

Natural habitats: Flower border Hedge Herb garden Lawn/grassy area Meadow area Woodland area

Where and when to see them

They can be see in grassy places where flowers grow. It is widespread in Wales and England and is extending its range northwards.

Adults are on the wing on sunny days between early June and mid-August. There is just one generation.

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