Small Skipper

Thymelicus sylvestris (57.006)

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.

Habitat Requirements

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.

Larval Foodplants

The larvae of the Small Skipper feed on Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus), Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata) and False Brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum).

Distribution in Warwickshire

See maps below. Distribution text required.

Distribution of the Small Skipper 1995-2004 inclusive


Distribution of the Small Skipper 2005-2009 inclusive


Distribution of the Small Skipper 2010-2014 inclusive


Distribution of the Small Skipper 2015-2019 inclusive


Submit your records

Use our online recording system to submit your observations of butterflies and day-flying moths.