Essex Skipper (Thymelicus lineola)
Species

Male. Taken at Abingdon, Oxon., on July 1st 2018.
(1/160th sec at f13. Approx 4x lifesize. © David Hastings)

Female. Taken at Abingdon, Oxon., on June 27th 2016.
(1/250th sec at f14. Approx 4x lifesize. © David Hastings)

Underside. Taken at Bernwood Forest, Bucks, on July 23rd 2016.
(1/400th sec at f14. Approx 4x lifesize. © David Hastings)

Description

Wing span: 26 - 30 mm

The Essex Skipper forms discrete colonies that vary from a small number of individuals to several thousand. This species is very similar in appearance to the Small Skipper and was not recognised as a separate species until 1889.

It is widespread in south-east England, and has been spreading north and westwards. It has also been found in Ireland and Scotland.

Essex Skippers live in a variety of habitats where there is long grass, including road verges, marshes, chalk grassland, waste ground and woodland clearings.

Adults are usually on the wing during July and August. The species over-winters as an ovum.

Larval foodplants are Cocks-foot, Creeping Soft-grass and probably other grasses.

Adults often visit Thistles and Knapweeds.

The male is distinguished from the female by the sex brand on its forewings, which is a short line of specialised scent scales. This species can be distinguished from the Small Skipper by the black undersides to its antennae (orange in the Small Skipper), and that the sex brand is short and doesn't cross a vein (it does in the Small). The female is harder to distinguish, but the dark marginal border on the fore wing is more diffuse and extends into the veins (it is well-defined in the Small).

This species is of Least Concern on the UK list.

Sightings

24-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
22-Jul-2019 : Otmoor, Oxon (8)
20-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
18-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
17-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
16-Jul-2019 : Ardley Quarry, Oxon (2+)
13-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (6)
11-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (5)
10-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (11)
09-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
07-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (6+)
06-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
05-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
03-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)

22-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France
21-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France
16-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
15-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
13-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
09-Jul-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (5+)
08-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (6+)
07-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (3)
05-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (3)
04-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (4)
04-Jul-2018 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (1)
02-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (3)
01-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (5)

11-Aug-2017 : Bucknell Wood, Northants (1)
18-Jul-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
16-Jul-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
09-Jul-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
08-Jul-2017 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (2+)
08-Jul-2017 : Bayworth, Oxon (2+)
08-Jul-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
06-Jul-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
04-Jul-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
02-Jul-2017 : Fence Wood, Berks (1)
02-Jul-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
27-Jun-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1f)
10-Jun-2017 : Velebits National Park, Croatia
06-Jun-2017 : Irinovac, Croatia

31-Jul-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
30-Jul-2016 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (8+)
23-Jul-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
23-Jul-2016 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (20+)
23-Jul-2016 : Bernwood Meadows, Bucks (10)
23-Jul-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (12)
22-Jul-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
17-Jul-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
11-Jul-2016 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (1m)

22-Aug-2015 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (2)
16-Aug-2015 : Hackpen Hill, Oxon (3f)
16-Aug-2015 : Pewsey Downs NNR, Wilts (2f)
15-Aug-2015 : Rushy Common, Oxon (1f)
09-Aug-2015 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (1m,5f)
02-Aug-2015 : Bernwood Meadows, Bucks (15+)
30-Jul-2015 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (9f)
25-Jul-2015 : Nr Dobrinishte, Bulgaria
18-Jul-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2m)
14-Jul-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
12-Jul-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (3)
11-Jul-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (5)
10-Jul-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (5)
09-Jul-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)