Dingy Skipper Hesperiidae

Erynnis tages (Linnaeus, 1758)

Description: Wingspan 27-34mm. Males and females are similar. The upperside of both wings are dull brown and grey and lack prominent markings. There is a row of small white dots along the side margins.

Similar Species: This small, dull brown and grey butterfly looks more like a moth than our more familiar butterflies. Confusion is most likely with two day-flying moths the Mother Shipton Callistege mi and Burnet Companion Euclidia glyphica which share its habitat. Both these have stronger more contrasting markings.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside male underside

Flight Period: May and June. Only a single generation is known in Ireland.

Status: A scarce and local species in N. Ireland confined to west and north Fermanagh.

Ecology: Colonies of Dingy Skipper are found in short, unimproved grassland where its foodplant Bird's-foot Trefoil Lotus corniculatus is common. In Fermanagh colonies exist on limestone hills and roadside verges where the vegetation is sparse and there are patches of bare ground. The adults bask frequently on vegetation and bare ground. They have a fast and direct flight. The larvae feed on the leaves of the foodplant. The larvae hibernate when fully grown and pupate in early spring.

World Distribution: Europe from Spain and the Mediterranean northwards into southern Scandinavia and eastwards into much of Siberia and China.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 1532 Agassiz number: 57.001

Additional information:

UK Butterflies account


 Thompson, R. S. & Nelson, B., 2003 (Oct 2). [In] The Butterflies and Moths of Northern Ireland