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Grizzled Skipper

Pyrgus malvae

  • Family: Skippers and Darts – Hesperiidae
  • Subfamily: Spread-winged Skippers – Pyrginae
  • Wing span: Very small, 20–24 mm (0.78–0.94 in.). Smallest of the Spread-winged Skippers. Females larger than males.
  • Wing upper side: Blackish brown with white blotches. Looks black and white at first glance.
  • Wing underside: Olive green–greyish green, with white blotches and patches.
  • Habitat: Open habitats with low-growing vegetation, e.g. such as pastures, logging clearings and roadsides. Also bogs.
  • Flying time: Mid-May–early July.
  • Overwintering form: Cocoon.
  • Larval foodplant: Rose Family (Rosaceae), e.g. wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) and cinqefoils (Potentilla).

Hesperioidea is a superfamily of butterflies in the same way as Papilionoidea, and in this web site they are dealt with within their own Hesperiidae Family (Skippers and Darts). The superfamily is home to around 4,000 species, of which 9 can be found in Finland. The Skippers and Darts family is sub-divided into three subfamilies: Spread-winged skippers, Skipperlings and Grass skippers.

The grizzled skipper is quite common in southern and central Finland. It looks a lot like the alpine grizzled skipper and large grizzled skipper, but it is smaller. Compared to the northern grizzled skipper, the white blotches on the upper side of the forewing margin are stronger on the grizzled skipper. The inner edge of the large white blotch in the middle of the underside of the hind wing is not constant on the grizzled skipper, which sets it apart from the large grizzled skipper, and it doesn’t form a continuous strip that runs right across the wing, as it does on the northern grizzled skipper.

The grizzled skipper flies close to the ground and so fast that it is hard to follow. Males defend their mating territory as they wait for females, who lay their eggs individually in the leaves of the foodplant. Caterpillars live among two leaves that have been woven together.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same subfamily

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