Sunday, July 17, 2016

Small skipper

I find large and small skipper butterflies hard to tell apart but I'm pretty sure this is a small skipper Thymelicus sylvestris, feeding on marjoram at Stanhope in Weardale.

Skipper butterflies have a very distinctive way of holding their wings, half-open, that separates them from all other British butterflies and from moths.

When I first came to live in the North Pennines in the 1970s small skippers were unknown here but since then they have gradually colonised the area and their range now extends well into Northumberland; a butterfly good news story.


  1. No such good news story here in Milton Keynes, it seems that all butterflies are now as rare as hen's teeth. Sadly.

  2. markings are darker and more prominent on a large skipper!

  3. Next thing you know, Phil, the Essex Skipper will have extended its range to your neck of the woods, and then you'll have a somewhat harder identification problem. However, your first image would be enough to rule out Essex as it has orange undersides to the tips of the antennae - Essex would be glossy black.

    Best wishes - - - Richard


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