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Silver-spotted Skipper

Hesperia comma

  • Family: Skippers and Darts – Hesperiidae
  • Subfamily: Grass Skippers – Hesperiinae
  • Subspecies: Ssp. comma, ssp. catena.
  • Wing span: Small, 24–35 mm (0.94–1.37 in.). Females larger than males.
  • Wing upper side: Orange, edges with unclearly-defined shaded areas, light-coloured blotches on forewing apex. Females with more blotches than males. Males with prominent dark stripe in middle of forewing.
  • Wing underside: Greenish brown with white blotches.
  • Habitat: Dry, stony and abundantly-flowered meadows in the south, the south side of steep Lappish rock faces, narrow, meandering strips of abundantly-flowered meadows in the north.
  • Flying time: Southern Finland Mid-July–August. July in the north.
  • Overwintering form: Egg.
  • Larval foodplant: Different kinds of grasses (Poaceae), southern subspecies at least sheep’s fescue (Festuca ovina).
  • Endangerment: Ssp. catena (can only be found in the north) is vulnerable and protected. Ssp. comma (southern) is endangered.

The silver-spotted skipper can be found rarely at Finland’s extremes: its north-western ”arm”, the Åland Islands and around the south-western coast.

The silver-spotted skipper can be differentiated from its close relatives by the blotches on the underside of its hind wings and the white blotches on the apex of its forewings’ upper side. Silver-spotted skippers seem restless and drive other butterflies (including owlet-moths that fly by day) from their territories. Males defend their mating territory as they wait for females, who lay their eggs individually on either withered or living leaves on the host plant.

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