Dingy skipper butterfly

Dingy skipper butterfly

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Dingy skipper butterfly

The dingy skipper is a butterfly of the Hesperiidae family. It ranges from Europe across Asia Minor and Central Asia to the Amur region. Erynnis tages favours open grassy habitats up to 2,000 metres above sea level. The insect flies in two generations from May–June and July–August but in northern regions and at the high altitudes, there is only a single generation. Larval host plants in Europe are Eryngium, Lotus, Coronilla, Medicago, Hippocrepis etc.

Scientific name: Erynnis tages

Higher classification: Duskywing

Rank: Species

Dingy skipper butterfly Introduction

Despite its name, a freshly-emerged Dingy Skipper reveals a subtle pattern of browns and greys that is quite beautiful. However, this butterfly does live up to its name as scales are lost over time, resulting in a lacklustre and drab appearance. This is our most widely-distributed skipper, despite its decline due to changes in farming practice.

Colonies can be found throughout the British Isles, including northern Scotland and Ireland where, although scarce, is found on outcrops of limestone. This butterfly’s strongholds, however, are in central and southern England. This butterfly lives in discrete colonies with little interchange between them.

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Lepidoptera
  • Family: Hesperiidae
  • Genus: Erynnis
  • Species: E. tages
  • Binomial name: Erynnis tages

Dingy skipper butterfly Habitat

Dingy Skipper colonies occur in a wide range of open, sunny habitats including chalk downland, woodland rides and clearings, coastal habitats such as dunes and undercliffs, heathland, disused quarries and railway lines and waste ground.

Suitable conditions occur where foodplants grow in sparsely grassed areas, often with patches of bare ground and in a sunny, sheltered situation. Taller vegetation is also required for shelter and roosting.

Life cycle and food plants

The eggs are laid singly on the tender young leaves of bird’s-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), the favoured food plant. The caterpillar creates a shelter by spinning leaves together and feeds until fully grown in August. It then creates a larger tent to form a hibernaculum where it hibernates. Pupation occurs the following spring without further feeding. Adults are on the wing from mid-May till mid-June.

Habitat

Dingy Skipper colonies occur in a wide range of open, sunny habitats including chalk downland, woodland rides and clearings, coastal habitats such as dunes and undercliffs, heathland, disused quarries and railway lines and waste ground.

Size

The Dingy Skipper is a small (average wing span is 29mm), inconspicuous, brown and grey butterfly, most commonly seen basking or engaging in rapid flights difficult to follow with the eye.

Food

The caterpillars feed on bird’s-foot trefoil, greater bird’s-foot trefoil or horseshoe vetch

Dingy skipper butterfly pictures

Dingy skipper butterfly

Dingy skipper butterfly

Dingy skipper butterfly

Also more: Fritillary Butterfly

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