Belongs to: skippers

Dingy skipper Erynnis tages

extinct in Essex


Best time to see: late May to late Jun

Key facts

A moth-like skipper butterfly

Habitat: sunny, sheltered places where its foodplant, Birdsfoot Trefoil, grows

Widely distributed across southern England and some coasts elsewhere, but recently extinct in Essex

Recognition

Mainly grey-brown upperwings with a blured pattern, with white dots outside a pale grey fringe; underside lighter

Spend long periods basking on bare ground, wings pressed against the soil; swift whirring flight just above ground

Perch on dead flowers or grassheads at night with wings draped down over them; wingspan c. 3 cm

Lifecycle

Bright orange eggs laid on Birdsfoot Trefoil or other vetches in June/July

Caterpillars, green with a dark head, live in a loose tent near the ground, hibernating from late July on

Chrysalis forms in the hibernation tent in spring, most adults emerging in June

  • Main photo

Photo © Dennis Carter