Face-to-face with a Small Skipper. © 2019 Gillian Thompson.
The Small Skipper and Essex Skipper are almost identical in appearance which often makes identification in the field extremely difficult as they are often found living in the same habitats and on the wing at similar times.
One key difference between the Small Skipper and Essex Skipper is that the Small Skipper has dull brown/orange tips while the Essex Skipper has distinctive glossy black tips to its antennae. Small Skippers are also slightly more orange in appearance.
The adult butterflies spend much of their time basking or resting on grass stems in typical 'golden skipper' style.
Colonies of the Small Skipper can be found where grasses can grow tall and lush. Habitats include disused railway lines, unimproved rough grassland and verges. Colonies can occur on very small patches of suitable habitat such as a roadside and railway verges.
The larvae of the Small Skipper feed on Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus), Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata) and False Brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum).
See maps below. Distribution text required.