Insects of Britain and Ireland: butterflies

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Adults. Wingspan 27–34 mm; the fringes not banded. Medium built to heavily built; short-bodied; large-headed. The eyes glabrous. Antennae reaching noticeably over halfway to the wingtip; inserted fully one half the width of the head apart. The antennal clubs gradual-elongate; curved; not flattened (tapered). Labial palps ascending (pointed). Having all 6 legs fully developed and operational for walking. Fore-legs with a tibial epiphysis. Tibiae of middle legs without spurs. Posterior tibiae 4-spurred (with midle spurs).

Forewings. Forewings apically blunt. The outer and hind margins angled at about 100–110 degrees. The outer margins convexly curved. Uppersides of the forewings fuscous; with a conspicuous discal mark to without a discal mark; with two darker bands of confluent spots, the included space irrorated whitish, the second followed by a series of small spots of whitish irroration, and a terminal row of whitish dots.

Hindwings. Hindwings broadly rounded; with the outer margins not scalloped. Uppersides of the hindwings fuscous; conspicuously patterned; with a conspicuous discal mark; dark fuscous, with a whitish discal mark and a terminal series of whitish dots.

Undersides of wings. Undersides of the forewings pale ochreous-brownish, quite plain, with a terminal row of indistinct pale greyish dots.

Undersides of the hindwings pale ochreous-brownish, quite plain, with a terminal row of indistinct pale greyish dots.

Wing venation. Forewings 12 veined; without basally dilated veins. Forewings with 1 tubular anal vein; the anal veins of the forewings representing 1b only; vein 1b furcate proximally. Forewings with a discal cell; vein 2 departing from the cell less than three-quarters of the distance from its base (from about halfway or below?). Forewing veins all separate.

Hindwings 8 veined; with a praecostal spur, or without a praecostal spur (?); with 2 anal veins; exhibiting vein 1a; the anal veins comprising 1a and 1b. Hindwings with a closed discal cell; the transverse vein complete. 6 veins arising from the hindwing cell (vein 5 absent).

Eggs, larvae, pupae. Eggs discoid to hemispherical (somewhat wider than high, basally wider); longitudinally ribbed (with about 20 ribs). The larvae hairless; exposed feeders (within drawn-together leaves). On Lotus corniculatus.

Pupae smooth and rounded; dark green, the body tinged rosy red.

British representation. 1 species. Erynnis tages (Dingy Skipper). The adults abroad May and June.

Status in Britain. Indigenous.

Distribution. Northern Scotland, southern Scotland, northern England, English Midlands, East Anglia, Wales, southeast England, central southern England, southwest England, Isle of Wight, and Ireland. Frequenting open places. Habitats calcareous and non-calcareous.

Classification. Superfamily Hesperoidea. Hesperiidae.

Illustrations. • Erynnis tages (Dingy Skipper): photos. • Erynnis tages (Dingy Skipper): egg, larva, cocoon. • Larvae and pupae of E. tages and Pyrgus malvae: Duponchel (1849).

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2008 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: butterflies. Version: 16th May 2016.’.