Small skipper

  • Scientific name: Thymelicus sylvestris
  • Type: Insects

Key information

Despite its name, the small skipper is not our smallest skipper, although it is smaller than the large skipper: the other skipper likely to occur in gardens.

Like its larger cousin, the small skipper is often found basking on vegetation, or making short buzzing flights among tall grass stems.

It is a small, bright orange, moth-like butterfly that flies rapidly and often has its wings closed at rest. It is less boldly marked on its upperwings than the large skipper.

This butterfly is widespread in southern Britain and is expanding its range northwards. There is a single generation each year.

Eggs are laid in late July and early August. The caterpillars emerge some two weeks later.

What they eat:

Adults nectar at flowers. The caterpillars feed on Yorkshire fog grass.

Identifying features:

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

Where and when to see them

Grassland, verges, sunny rides, and woodland clearings. It will also visit gardens with suitable habitat.

It is on the wing from the last week of June to around the first week of August.

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