Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma)
Species

Male. Taken at Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon., on July 23rd 2017.
(1/400th sec at f14. Approx 4x lifesize. © David Hastings)

Male underside. Taken at Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon., on June 28th 2013.
(1/200th sec at f11. Approx 4x lifesize. © David Hastings)

Female. Taken at Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon., on August 7th 2018.
(1/200th sec at f14. Approx 4x lifesize. © David Hastings)

Female underside. Taken at Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon., on August 7th 2018.
(1/500th sec at f14. Approx 4x lifesize. © David Hastings)

Description

Wing 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 18°C.

This species has Near Threatened status on the UK list.

Sightings

07-Aug-2018 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (42)
23-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France
14-Jul-2018 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (5m,2f)
14-Jul-2018 : Watlington Hill, Oxon (3m)

23-Jul-2017 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (7)

29-Aug-2016 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (7f)
30-Jul-2016 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (14m,6f)

22-Aug-2015 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (6)
30-Jul-2015 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (9m)