Large Chequered Skipper

Heteropterus morpheus (he-tuh-ROP-tuh-russ MOR-fee-uss)

Large Chequered Skipper - imago - Comunanza, Italy - 19-Jun-08 (2)
Photo © Pete Eeles
 

Wingspan
15 - 17mm

Checklist Number
57.003

Family:HesperiidaeLatreille, 1809
Subfamily:HeteropterinaeAurivillius, 1925
Tribe:  
Genus:HeteropterusDuméril, 1806
Subgenus:  
Species:morpheus(Pallas, 1771)

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Introduction

This butterfly was discovered in Jersey in 1946 at 3 separate sites, but subsequently became restricted to a single, small site in the north of the island. It is believed that larvae were accidentally introduced in hay that was imported from France during the Second World War while under German occupation (1940-1945). There was a petrol shortage on the island, and this led to an increased use of horses. The butterfly has been extinct on the island since 1996. In Jersey, the butterfly was known by its French name of Le Miroir ("the mirror"), referring to the appearance of the white spots on the hindwings, which resemble beads of water on glass. The butterfly forms discrete colonies and, where it does exist, can occur in large numbers.

Heteropterus morpheus

This species was first defined in Pallas (1771) as shown here (type locality: Samara, Russia).

Large Chequered Skipper - Foret D'Orleans - Loire Valley - France - 16/07/12

Male
Photo © William

Large Chequered Skipper male - Italy 3-July-2014

Male Underside
Photo © Padfield

Large Chequered Skipper female - Gironde, France July 1999 (99-01)

Female
Photo © Roger Gibbons

Large Chequered Skipper female - Italy 3-July-2014

Female Underside
Photo © Padfield

Photo Album ...


History

Description to be completed.

Conservation Status

No conservation action is relevant for this species.

Habitat

Where this butterfly occurred in Jersey, it was found in a small habitat of sheltered damp grassland dominated by Purple Moor-grass, situated on the edge of a bog. In Europe, the habitat is described as shady roads and woodland clearings, each with damp soils.

Distribution

1.1 Extinct
 

This species is extinct in the British Isles.

Life Cycle

This butterfly is single brooded throughout its range. On Jersey, it was recorded from mid-July to mid-August.

Imago

This butterfly has a distinctive flight, which consists of a series of "hops" or "bounces" low over the ground, making it possible to identify the species from a distance. When egg-laying, the female lands on a blade of grass, backs down the leaf and then deposits a single egg low down in the centre of the blade.

Description to be completed.

Heteropterus morpheus

Large Chequered Skipper female - Gironde, France July 1999 (99-01)

Photo © Roger Gibbons
20-Nov-2007

Large Chequered Skipper - imago - Unknown location - Unknown date (2) [Guy Padfield]

Photo © Guy Padfield

Large Chequered Skipper - imago - Unknown location - Unknown date (4) [Guy Padfield]

Photo © Guy Padfield

Large Chequered Skipper - imago - Unknown location - Unknown date [Guy Padfield]

Photo © Guy Padfield

Large Chequered Skipper - imago - Comunanza, Italy - 19-Jun-08 (2)

Photo © Pete Eeles
21-Jun-2008

Large Chequered Skipper - imago - Comunanza, Italy - 19-Jun-08 (3)

Photo © Pete Eeles
21-Jun-2008

Large Chequered Skipper - imago - Comunanza, Italy - 19-Jun-08 (5)

Photo © Pete Eeles
21-Jun-2008

Large Chequered Skipper - Foret D'Orleans - Loire Valley - France - 16/07/12

Photo © William

Large Chequered Skipper - Foret d'Orleans - The Loire Valley - France - 16/07/12

Photo © William

Large Chequered Skipper male - Italy 3-July-2014

Photo © Padfield
03-Jul-2014

Large Chequered Skipper female - Italy 3-July-2014

Photo © Padfield
03-Jul-2014

Large Chequered Skipper male - Italy 3-July-2014

Photo © Padfield
03-Jul-2014

Large Chequered Skipper male - Italy 1-July-2016

Photo © Padfield
01-Jul-2016

Photo Album (13 photos) ...


Ovum

The white, spherical eggs are laid singly on the foodplant. This stage lasts between 2 and 3 weeks.

Heteropterus morpheus - Ovum (Ticino, early July 2008) [Wolfgang Wagner]

Photo © Wolfgang Wagner
www.pyrgus.de

Photo Album (1 photos) ...


Larva

The newly-emerged larva spins the edges of a leaf together to form a tube in which it lives. The larva feeds until it is half-grown, in early October, before entering hibernation within the tube. The larva emerges from hibernation the following spring and resumes feeding. Once a leaf blade is eaten, the larva moves to a new location, forming a new shelter.

The primary larval foodplant is Purple Moor-grass (Molinia caerulea). Common Reed (Phragmites australis), False Brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) and Purple Small-reed (Calamagrostis canescens) are also used.

1st Instar

Description to be completed.

2nd Instar

Description to be completed.

3rd Instar

Description to be completed.

4th Instar

Description to be completed.

5th Instar

Description to be completed.

Heteropterus morpheus - Larva [Wolfgang Wagner]

Photo © Wolfgang Wagner
www.pyrgus.de

Photo Album (1 photos) ...


Pupa

The larva forms a loose shelter, by spinning together several grass blades, within which it pupates.

Heteropterus morpheus - Pupa [Wolfgang Wagner]

Photo © Wolfgang Wagner
www.pyrgus.de

Photo Album (1 photos) ...


Aberrations

Description to be completed.

Click here to see the aberration descriptions and images for this species.

Similar Species

No similar species found.

Videos

No videos are currently available for this species.

The following links provide additional information on this butterfly.

References

The species description provided here references the following publications:

ReferenceDetails
Aurivillius (1925) Aurivillius, C. (1925) In Seitz: Die Großschmetterlinge der Erde.
Duméril (1806) Duméril, A.M.C. (1806) Zoologie analytique.
Latreille (1809) Latreille, P.A. (1809) Genera crustaceorum et insectorum secundum ordinem naturalem in familias disposita, iconibus exemplisque plurimis explicata.
Pallas (1771) Pallas, P.S. (1771) Reise durch verschiedene Provinzen des russischen Reichs.