Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae)
Male. Taken at Aston Upthorpe Down, Oxon on April 24th 2011.
(1/80th sec at f14. Approx 4x lifesize)
Male underside. Taken at Aston Upthorpe Down, Oxon on April 24th 2011.
(1/200th sec at f14. Approx 4x lifesize)
Female. Taken at Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon, on 7th May 2016.
(1/160th sec at f13. Approx 4x lifesize)
© David Hastings
DescriptionWing span: 23 - 29 mm
The Grizzled Skipper looks rather like a moth. The black and white pattern on the wings, from which this species gets its name, is unmistakable.
The Grizzled Skipper is mainly found in southern England. It has been declining generally, probably because of habitat loss.
This species occurs in habitats that are characterised by warmth, shelter, and sparse vegetation, such as chalk downland, woodland edges, woodland clearings, large woodland rides, unimproved grassland, hillsides, valleys and occasionally heathland.
Adults are usually on the wing from the end of April to the end of June. There can be a small second brood in favourable years. The species over-winters as a pupa.
The primary larval foodplants are Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria), Creeping Cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans) and Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca). Spring flowers such as Bugle are used as nectar sources.
Males compete for territories, engaging in fierce aerial battles, whereas females fly low over the ground looking for egg-laying sites.
This species is listed as Vulnerable in the latest Red List of British Butterflies (PDF).