Dingy Skipper Erynnis tages


The Dingy Skipper is found in localised colonies in the East Midlands in grassland areas, disused railways, old quarries, reclaimed pit-tips, upland heath and woodland rides. It has suffered a decline in recent years due to 'improvement' of ancient grassland for agriculture or to lack of grazing on unimproved grassland. It is a conservation priority species.


It is unlike any other butterfly found in the British Isles, but it can be confused with other species found in the same habitats such as Grizzled Skipper and day-flying moths such as Mother Shipton and Burnet Companion.

Flight times

It is on the wing from late April until late June, occasionally with a second brood in August.

Food plants

Eggs are most commonly laid on Common Bird's-foot-trefoil, or Greater Bird's-foot-trefoil on heavier soils and Horseshoe Vetch on calcareous soils.

Distribution Maps

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

Comparison of years 2005-09 & 2010-14

Distribution has consolidated over this ten year period, but no significant advance has been made in the spatial coverage.

Dingy Skipper distribution map 2015
2015 Summary
No of tetrads 130
First sighting 24/04/2015
Last sighting 15/08/2015
Dingy Skipper distribution map 2016
2016 Summary
No of tetrads 123
First sighting 03/05/2016
Last sighting 30/07/2016

Photo Gallery

Similar or Easily Confused Species and ID Hints

Burnet Companion Euclidia glyphica

The Burnet Companion is a small Noctuidae moth which flies during the day. It shares similar grassland habitats to the Dingy Skipper with the larval food plants including clovers and Common Bird's-foot-trefoil.

Although very similar in size and overall colouration the Burnet Companion often rests with the wings slightly open, revealing the bright orange of the rear wing.

Image of Burnet Companion
Burnet Companion - © Simon Jenkin

Mother Shipton Callistege mi

The Mother Shipton is another small day flying Noctuidae moth that shares similar grassland habitats and larval food plants to the Burnet Companion and Dingy Skipper.

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.

image of Mother Shipton
Mother Shipton - © Simon Jenkins