Butterflies - Essex Skipper (Thymelicus lineola)
The Essex Skipper and Small Skipper are almost identical in appearance which often makes identification in the field extremely difficult, even for the experienced lepidopterist as they are often found living in the same habitats and on the wing at similar times.
The Essex Skipper has a distinctive glossy black tip to its antennae (including the underside of the antennae tip) while the Small Skipper has dull brown/orange tips.
The adult butterflies spend much of their time basking or resting on grass stems in typical 'golden skipper' style and can be seen from early June until late August although numbers have decreased dramatically by mid August.
- Larval Food Plants
- Key Sites
Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata)
May also use Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus).
The Essex Skipper is found in tall, dry grasslands in open sunny locations. It is commonly found on disused railways and roadside verges where the larval foodplant grows.
It is rarely recorded in large numbers, usually only one or two individuals may be seen. Confusion with the Small Skipper must be taken into account when recording this species.
Resident in Warwickshire.
May turn up anywhere in the region on grassland sites. Although it has a widespread distribution in our region, you are unlikely to see more than a couple of individuals.
A photographic slideshow displaying various images of the Essex Skipper is currently in development.
Details of how you can supply your own photographs for display here will be made available soon.
The flight chart below is based on observations of the adult Essex Skipper butterfly in Warwickshire between 2005 and 2008. Peak periods are shown in dark green.