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Large Skipper

Ochlodes sylvanus

  • Latin synonym: Ochlodes venatus
  • Family: Skippers and Darts – Hesperiidae
  • Subfamily: Grass Skippers – Hesperiinae
  • Wing span: Small, 25–35 mm (0.98–1.37 in.). Females larger than males.
  • Wing upper side: Orange, edges with broadly and unclearly-defined shaded areas. Females’ wings browner and with more patches than males’. Males with prominent dark stripe in middle of forewing.
  • Wing underside: Greenish orange.
  • Habitat: Forest meadows and margins.
  • Flying time: June–July. Second generation possible (in September).
  • Overwintering form: Caterpillar.
  • Larval foodplant: Different kinds of grasses (Poaceae), e.g. meadow foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis), wavy hairgrass (Deschampsia flexuosa) and reed canarygrass (Phlaris arundinacea).

Hesperioidea is a superfamily of butterflies in the same way as Papilionoidea, and in this web site they are dealt 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 divided into three subfamilies: Spread-winged skippers, Skipperlings and Grass skippers.

The large skipper is quite common in south and middle Finland and is one of three Grass skipper species that can be found in Finland. It can be told apart from the Essex skipper by its wing’s broadly brown edge. The large skipper’s wings have only unclear orange blotches or they might be missing altogether, which makes it easy to tell apart from the silver-spotted skipper.

Males defend their territory in forests and bushes as they wait for females, who lay their eggs individually on the leaves of the host plant.

Other species from the same group

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