Belongs to: skippers

Grizzled skipper Pyrgus malvae

found at only a few Essex sites


Best time to see: May to mid Jun

Key facts

An active little butterfly with chequered wings

Habitat: sunny, sheltered places such as broad rides, woodland edges or rough grassland among scrub

Localised in central southern England; a few scattered colonies in Essex

Recognition

Black and white chequered uppperside with a border of black and white bars; underside similar but duller

Active, with a darting flight that is hard to follow because of the blurring effect of the chequered wings

Often settles on bare ground to bask, with wings wide open; wingspan up to 3 cm

Lifecycle

Eggs laid in May/June on the leaves of members of the rose family, such as Wild Strawberry or Creeping Cinquefoil

Caterpillar lives in a loose tent formed by drawing the edges of a leaf round itself; pupating in July

Chrysalis over-winters in a loose cocoon of silk near the base of the foodplant, adults emerging in late spring

  • Main photo

Photo © David Corke