Large Skipper butterfly in Cornwall

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Last Sunday, 8 May, we saw our first Large Skipper of the year in the shelter of a hedgerow on the South West Coast Path at the mouth of the Helford River. Latest Large Skipper species page

According to Cornwall Butterfly Conservation this is 10 days earlier than the first Large Skipper recorded last year. This probably isn’t surprising given this spring’s exceptionally dry and sunny weather.

We saw three Large Skipper, all male showing prominant dark brown sex brands on their forewings.

Insight into Large Skipper (Ochlodes faunus): well distributed throughout England, it is rapidly expanding its range northwards towards Scotland. It inhabits rough grassland where the grasses that the caterpillars feed on are left uncut and ungrazed. The caterpillar stage lasts for ten months, hibernating over winter.

It seems to be able to sustain quite small colonies of 30 or less on even narrow strips of land on the edges of fields and road sides where it spends much time basking in the sun with its wings partly open on hedgerow plants such as Bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.).

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