Northern Checquered Skipper
- Family: Skippers and Darts – Hesperiidae
- Subfamily: Skipperlings – Heteropterinae
- Wing span: (Very) Small, 22–30 mm (0.86–1.17 in.).
- Wing upper side: Forewing yellow, black-blotched. Hind wing dark brown, yellow-blotched. Females’ wings with more black than males’.
- Wing underside: Forewing yellow, dark-blotched. Hind wing base colour blackish brown, with white–yellow blotches.
- Habitat: Damp, abundance of abundantly-flowered meadows and rich forests where grasses grow.
- Flying time: Late May–early July.
- Overwintering form: Semi-grown caterpillar.
- Larval foodplant: Different kinds of grasses (Poaceae), e.g. couch grass (Elymus repens) and Scandinavian small-reed (Calamgrostis purpureum).
The Skippers and darts family is comprised of around 4,000 species. Of these, 40 can be found in Europe and 10 in Finland, including the large chequered skipper (Heteropterus morpheus) which has been seen only once, and not for almost 80 years. Compared to “proper” butterflies, the Skippers and darts have large heads and more muscular bodies, and their wing muscles in particular are more powerful.
The northern chequered skipper is quite common in southern and central Finland as far north as Rovaniemi. The female is reminiscent of the rare chequered skipper, but the yellow colouring on the upper side of the northern chequered skipper’s forewing is uniform inside the black margins.
Males defend their mating territory in forest margins and clearings as they wait for females, who lay their eggs individually on the leaves of the host plant.