Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma)
Male. Taken at Aston Rowant, Oxon., on August 7th 2010.
(1/320th sec at f8. Approx 4x lifesize)
Male underside. Taken at Aston Rowant, Oxon., on July 28th 2013.
(1/200th sec at f13. Approx 4x lifesize)
Female. Taken at Aston Rowant, Oxon., on July 30th 2016.
(1/250th sec at f14. Approx 4x lifesize)
Female underside. Taken at Aston Rowant, Oxon., on July 28th 2013.
(1/200th sec at f11. Approx 4x lifesize)
© David Hastings
DescriptionWing span: 30 - 36mm
This attractively-marked Skipper is quite rare, but has been spreading to new sites in recent years. The silvery blotches on the underwings are diagnostic.
It is restricted to southern England, being mainly found in Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Surrey and the southern Chilterns.
It is confined to chalk grassland where the turf is short and there are patches of bare ground.
Adults are usually on the wing from the end of July to the beginning of September. The species over-winters as an ovum.
The sole larval foodplant is Sheep's-fescue (Festuca ovina). Adults often feed on purple flowers such as Dwarf Thistle and Scabious.
Males perch in a sunny position to await a female. Aerial courtship is followed by mating on the ground. Individuals are only active when the temperature exceeds 20°C.
This species is listed as Near Threatened in the latest Red List of British Butterflies (PDF).