Grizzled skipper

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The term grizzled skipper is also used as general term for any member of the genus Pyrgus - see Grizzled skippers.
Grizzled skipper
Grizzled skipper (Pyrgus malvae).jpg
Aston Upthorpe, Oxfordshire
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Hesperiidae
Genus: Pyrgus
Species: P. malvae
Binomial name
Pyrgus malvae
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The grizzled skipper (Pyrgus malvae) is a butterfly of the Hesperiidae family.

Appearance, behaviour and distribution[edit]

With its characteristic chequered black-and-white pattern this butterfly is quite distinctive although old, faded individuals can be mistaken for the dingy skipper or the burnet companion moth.

It is distributed throughout the Palearctic region except the far north and the Iberian Peninsula, and eastwards as far as China and Korea.

Its main habitat in Britain is chalk downland but others used include scrubby grasslands, woodland clearings and disused artificial habitat. The butterfly occurs throughout southern and central England, and Wales, but has declined in several areas, especially in the non-chalk habitat.

Life cycle and food plants[edit]

The females lay eggs singly on species of the Rosaceae, usually agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria), creeping cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans) and wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca).

Other plants used occasionally are barren strawberry (Potentilla sterilis), tormentil (Potentilla erecta), salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor), bramble (Rubus fruticosus), dog-rose (Rosa canina) and wood avens (Geum urbanum).

On hatching the caterpillars build shelters for use when they are not feeding. The larvae spin pupal cocoons and overwinter before emerging the following spring. The adult butterfly flies from the end of April until the middle of June.


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