Small Skipper

Thymelicus sylvestris

Photo

 Image 1Wingspan: 27-34mm

Description
Almost identical to the Essex Skipper, the Small Skipper has dull brown/orange tips to the antennae, while the Essex Skipper has distinctive glossy black tips to its antennae. Small Skippers are also slightly more orange in appearance. Like other skippers they spend much of their time basking on grass stems. 

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Flight Period
The single flight period is normally from early June until mid/late August, peaking in July. 

Larval Food plants
Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus) is the main food plant,but the following grasses have also been recorded.
Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata)
False Broom (Brachypodium)
Creeping Soft-grass (Holcus molli)
Meadow Foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis)
Timothy (Phleum pratense) 

Habitat Requirements
Unimproved, uncut grasslands in open sunny locations. Roadside verges and disused railways lines are also frequented where the larval food plant is abundant and grows tall.

Wiltshire Status
Resident, common/frequent and widespread, currently declining in abundance. 

Earliest / Latest sightings 
Earliest county record 29 May 2008 Breach Hill, ATE SP(W) (Tim P Mann). 

Latest sighting
Latest county record 17th September 1985