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East Midlands Branch Butterfly Conservation

Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus malvae

Habitat

Grizzled Skippers are found in self-contained colonies in a variety of habitats in the south of the UK. Outside central southern England the species is now rare, and in the East Midlands is confined to a small number of scattered colonies in former industrial sites, generally on waste ground and sunny banks supporting sparse, scrambling vegetation, particularly disused railways, old quarries and spoil heaps. The decline is due to habitat loss resulting from changing patterns of land use, but it has been shown to respond well to conservation management.

Identification

It is the smallest of our skippers, and is a restless, energetic butterfly which is difficult to follow in flight. Easiest to identify when basking on bare ground or in sunny hollows, it has a pattern of white chequers on dark wings with black and white fringes.

Flight times

The Grizzled Skipper is a spring butterfly which is on the wing from late April until late June, occasionally flying from as early as late March on warm spring days.

Food plants

Eggs are laid on Wild Strawberry, but sometimes on Agrimony, Creeping Cinquefoil or Tormentil.

Grizzled Skipper - © Simon Jenkins Grizzled Skipper

Distribution Maps for the East Midlands Region

Grizzled Skipper distribution map 2010
2010 Summary
No of tetrads 23
First sighting 25/04/2010
Last sighting 15/06/2010
Grizzled Skipper distribution map 2011
2011 Summary
No of tetrads 10
First sighting 19/04/2011
Last sighting 20/05/2011
Grizzled Skipper distribution map 2012
2012 Summary
No of tetrads 10
First sighting 08/05/2012
Last sighting 09/06/2012
Grizzled Skipper distribution map 2013
2013 Summary
No of tetrads 22
First sighting 01/05/2013
Last sighting 28/06/2013
Grizzled Skipper distribution map 2014
2014 Summary
No of tetrads 27
First sighting 17/04/2014
Last sighting 20/07/2014
Grizzled Skipper distribution map 2015
2015 Summary
No of tetrads 27
First sighting 26/04/2015
Last sighting 20/06/2015
Grizzled Skipper distribution map 2005-09

Combined records for the five year period 2005-09

Grizzled Skipper distribution map 2010-14

Combined records for the five year period 2010-14

Grizzled Skipper distribution map comparison of 2005-09 & 2010-14

Comparison of years 2005-09 & 2010-14

There has been an expansion of its range over the last ten years, due in part to habitat restoration and conservation efforts.

 

Photo Gallery

Grizzled Skipper

Grizzled Skipper © Simon Jenkins

Grizzled Skipper

Grizzled Skipper © Simon Jenkins

Grizzled Skipper

Grizzled Skipper © Christine Maughan

Grizzled Skipper

Grizzled Skipper © Christine Maughan

Grizzled Skipper Grizzled Skipper Grizzled Skipper Grizzled Skipper
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Similar or Easily Confused Species and ID Hints

Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus malvae

The Grizzled Skipper is a very small and distinctive butterfly, with a wingspan of a mere 26mm. It would be difficult to mistake this for anyother butterfly species in the UK.

Although this is larger and lacking the distinctive checker board patterning, The one possible confusion may be a worn specimen of Mother Shipton moth.

Grizzled Skipper
Grizzled Skipper - © Simon Jenkins

Mother Shipton Callistege mi

The Mother Shipton is a small day flying Noctuidae moth that share similar grassland habitats and laval food plants to the Grizzled Skipper. It is slighlty larger than the Grizzled Skipper with a wingspan of 35mm

The striking wing markings resemble a caricature of the Yorkshire witch Old Mother Shipton. Its flight season is from May to June preferring sunny days.

Mother Shipton - day flying moth
Mother Shipton - © Simon Jenkins
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