Chequered Skipper

Carterocephalus palaemon (car-tur-oh-SEFF-a-luss pal-EE-mon)

Chequered-Skipper- 5D38346 Lochaber 27 May 2012
Photo © IainLeach
 

Wingspan
Male: 29mm
Female: 31mm

Checklist Number
57.004

Family:HesperiidaeLatreille, 1809
Subfamily:HeteropterinaeAurivillius, 1925
Tribe:  
Genus:CarterocephalusLederer, 1852
Subgenus:  
Species:palaemon(Pallas, 1771)

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Introduction

This colourful skipper is distinguished from all other skippers by the numerous yellowish spots found on its upperside - resulting in a chequered appearance that gives this butterfly its name. Like most skippers, this is a fast-flying butterfly, and its chequered markings make it very difficult to track when in flight. This butterfly does not exist in discrete colonies; populations are generally spread over wide areas of habitat. The Chequered Skipper is confined to north-west Scotland where it was first discovered in 1939 at Loch Lochy in West Inverness-shire, where its distribution is centred on Fort William and where the larval foodplant is Purple Moor-grass.

This species formerly occurred in England, inhabiting larger oak woods of central and east England, where False Brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) was used as the larval foodplant. The butterfly was sadly declared extinct in England in 1976, with its last sites in north-east Northamptonshire. Mackworth-Praed (1945) considers the Scottish specimens to be visibly distinct from the extinct English specimens: "It [the Scottish race] is, at least biologically, a distinct race from that of the eastern counties of England, and appears to be distinct in coloration. Its appearance on May 10th in 1942, and on May 28th in the cold, wet season of 1943, is a month earlier than is normal with the English race. Its coloration is cleaner and harder, with no yellow wash on the underside".

Carterocephalus palaemon Historic Specimens

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

Chequered-Skipper- 5D35798 Lochaber 9 June 2012

Male
Photo © IainLeach

Chequered-Skipper- 5D36291 Lochaber 27 May 2012

Male Underside
Photo © IainLeach

Chequered Skipper female - Glasdrum, Scotland 25-May-2012

Female
Photo © Neil Hulme

Chequered Skipper Female - Glen Loy - June 2014

Female Underside
Photo © PhiliB

Photo Album ...


History

The table below shows a chronology of vernacular names attributed to this species. Any qualification of the name (e.g. male, female) is shown in brackets after the name.

YearNameReference
1803Chequered SkipperHaworth (1803)
1819Scarce SkipperSamouelle (1819)
1853Spotted SkipperMorris (1853)

Conservation Status

The status of the Chequered Skipper in the British Isles is relatively stable, although the long-term fortunes of this species depend on the protection of its remaining sites, and it is therefore a priority species for conservation efforts.

UK BAP StatusOccurrence Change
1976-2014 (%)
Abundance Change
1976-2014 (%)
Occurrence Change
2005-2014 (%)
Abundance Change
2005-2014 (%)
Priority Species
Click here to access the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for this species.
Decrease-44
Insufficient Data
Increase+18
Insufficient Data

The table above shows the occurrence (distribution) and abundance (population) trends, using information from The State of the UK's Butterflies 2015 (Fox, 2015). Any UK BAP status is taken from the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) (2007 review).

Habitat

The butterfly favours south-facing, sheltered areas where the larval foodplant, Purple Moor-grass, and nectar sources grow in damp grassland. Sheltered sites are often on the edge of woodland, where the foodplant flourishes in richer soils. Sites are also often situated beside a loch or river. The habitat also typically contains tall shrubs that provide perches for males defending their territory.

Distribution

 

Click here to see the distribution of this species or here to see the distribution of this species together with specific site information overlaid.

Life Cycle

There is a single generation each year, and the flight season is typically from the third week of May through to the third week of June, although this may vary if the year is considered "early" or "late".

The chart(s) above have been correlated with the phenology plot below, taken from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. The blue line gives average counts over the full data set from 1976 to date, and the red line gives the average for the last year.

 

Imago

Good weather is required to see this species, which is often difficult to find during the flight period in north-west Scotland! In inclement weather, the adults shelter deep within grass tussocks. The males are the most-frequently encountered of the two sexes and are territorial. They take up position on a suitable perch from which they fly out to investigate any passing object and competing males are soon seen off. Females are less conspicuous than males, and fly low amongst the vegetation when egg-laying. Both sexes take a lot of nectar, favouring blue species such as Bluebell, Bugle and Ground Ivy.

Adults feed primarily on Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scriptus), Bramble (Rubus fruticosus), Bugle (Ajuga reptans) and Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea).

Carterocephalus palaemon Historic Specimens

Chequered Skipper - imago - Glasdrum Wood - 28-May-12-9

Photo © Pete Eeles

Chequered Skipper female - Glasdrum, Scotland 25-May-2012

Photo © Neil Hulme
25-May-2012

Chequered Skipper - imago - Glasdrum Wood - 27-May-14-6

Photo © Pete Eeles
27-May-2014

Chequered Skipper - male - Glasdrum Wood - 28-May-14

Photo © Pete Eeles
28-May-2014

Chequered Skipper - imago - Glasdrum Wood - 02-Jun-09(4) [Mark Pike]

Photo © Mark Pike
02-Jun-2009

Chequered Skipper - male - Glasdrum Wood - 27-May-14-3

Photo © Pete Eeles
27-May-2014

Chequered Skipper, Glasdrum Woods, 27th May 2014

Photo © Damian Money

Chequered-Skipper- 5D35798 Lochaber 9 June 2012

Photo © IainLeach

Chequered Skipper Female - Glen Loy - June 2011

Photo © PhiliB
07-Jun-2011

Chequered Skipper - female - Glasdrum Wood - 27-May-14-12

Photo © Pete Eeles
27-May-2014

Chequered Skipper - imago - Glasdrum Wood - 04-Jun-06 (0217)

Photo © Pete Eeles
04-Jun-2006

Chequered-Skipper- 5D38836 Lochaber 27 May 2012

Photo © IainLeach

Chequered Skipper - female - Glasdrum Wood - 27-May-14-9

Photo © Pete Eeles
27-May-2014

Chequered Skipper - imago - Glasdrum Wood - 28-May-12-5

Photo © Pete Eeles

Chequered Skipper - female - Glasdrum Wood - 27-May-14-11

Photo © Pete Eeles
27-May-2014

Chequered Skipper - imago - Glasdrum Wood - 04-Jun-06 (0212)

Photo © Pete Eeles
04-Jun-2006

Chequered-Skipper- 5D35680 Lochaber 9 June 2012

Photo © IainLeach

Chequered-Skipper- 5D35320 Lochaber 9 June 2012

Photo © IainLeach

Chequered Skipper Female - Glen Loy - June 2014

Photo © PhiliB

Chequered-Skipper- 5D35795 Lochaber 9 June 2012

Photo © IainLeach

Photo Album (71 photos) ...


Ovum

The large, pale, spherical eggs are laid singly on the underside of a tall blade of grass.

"In June, 1891, the Rev. J. A. Mackonochie kindly sent the author living females of this species, captured expressly to enable the writer to work out the life history of this interesting butterfly. These were at once placed on a growing plant of Bromus asper, on which plant the larvae will feed in captivity, and the first eggs were laid on June 14th. These were laid singly, and firmly attached to the grass blades; they hatched on June 24th, being ten days in the egg state. The egg is 0.60 mm. wide and 0.50 mm. high, of a compressed conical form; the micropyle sunken. The entire surface is minutely granulated. Starting from the centre of the micropyle is a fine network pattern of raised white reticulations, which extend over the whole of the crown and then run into fine striations to the base. The spaces between are faintly ribbed, indicating traces of the network pattern. The reticulations chiefly form 4 hexagonal cells. The egg has a pearly appearance, being whitish or yellowish-white in colour, with opaline reflections; shortly before hatching the colouring becomes opaque and a dark leaden spot appears at the crown, caused by the dark head of the larva showing through the shell." - Frohawk (1924)

Chequered Skipper3 [Martin Warren]

Photo © Martin Warren

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 13-Jun-14-8

Photo © Pete Eeles
13-Jun-2014

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 13-Jun-14-10

Photo © Pete Eeles
13-Jun-2014

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 13-Jun-14-11

Photo © Pete Eeles
13-Jun-2014

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 13-Jun-14-14

Photo © Pete Eeles
13-Jun-2014

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 15-Jun-15-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
15-Jun-2015

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 15-Jun-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
15-Jun-2015

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 22-Jun-15-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
22-Jun-2015

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 22-Jun-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
22-Jun-2015

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 27-May-16-3

Photo © Pete Eeles
27-May-2016

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 27-May-16-4

Photo © Pete Eeles
27-May-2016

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 27-May-16-9

Photo © Pete Eeles
27-May-2016

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 27-May-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
27-May-2016

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 28-Jun-15-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
28-Jun-2015

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 11-Jun-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
11-Jun-2016

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 28-Jun-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
28-Jun-2015

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 30-May-16-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
30-May-2016

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 30-May-16-3

Photo © Pete Eeles
30-May-2016

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 30-May-16-6

Photo © Pete Eeles
30-May-2016

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 30-May-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
30-May-2016

Photo Album (20 photos) ...


Larva

The larva emerges from the egg after about 10 days, depending on the weather, and forms a tube in which to live by drawing the margins of the leaf together with silk. It leaves this tube to feed, making characteristic notches in the blade of grass both above and below the tube. The larva moves to a new leaf when the current leaf, excluding the midrib and tube, has been eaten. The fully-grown larva changes from green to a straw colour before overwintering in a hibernaculum, which it prepares by binding together 3 or 4 dead grass blades with silk.

The primary larval foodplant is Purple Moor-grass (Molinia caerulea).

Chequered Skipper5 [Martin Warren]

Photo © Martin Warren
Larval feeding damage

Chequered Skipper - larval feeding damage - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 01-Sep-14-5

Photo © Pete Eeles
01-Sep-2014

Chequered Skipper - larval feeding damage - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 01-Sep-14-6

Photo © Pete Eeles
01-Sep-2014

Chequered Skipper - larval feeding damage - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 01-Sep-14-7

Photo © Pete Eeles
01-Sep-2014

Chequered Skipper - larval feeding damage - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 01-Sep-14-8

Photo © Pete Eeles
01-Sep-2014

Chequered Skipper - larval feeding damage - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 01-Sep-14

Photo © Pete Eeles
01-Sep-2014

Photo Album (6 photos) ...


1st Instar

"The young larva emerges from the egg by eating away the crown. Directly after emergence the larva is 2.1 mm. long; the head is large, intensely black and shining, with a few scattered minute whitish hairs; the body is cylindrical. The ground colour varies from a straw-yellow to a pale primrose. The surface is finely granular. On the first segment encircling the upper half is a shining black crescentic collar, which bears a few blackish hairs. On each segment there are ten fine black spinous hairs with whitish glass-like bulbous tips, six above and two below the spiracles, and two simple fine whitish spines on the claspers. The segments are divided up into five transverse wrinkles, but somewhat broken up laterally, and with faint indications of transverse creases. The larva, soon after emerging, commences making for itself a little tubular dwelling, drawing together the edges of the grass blade by spinning about three or four stout cords of silk, each cord composed of a great number of strands, which quickly contract, causing the edges to draw together, and sometimes to overlap, forming a compact short tube; generally before spinning it nibbles off the extreme edge of the blade where the silk is afterwards attached. It feeds upon the blade, both above and below its abode, devouring so much that frequently only the midrib of the blade remains, and the tube is only just long enough to conceal it; it then shifts its quarters and prepares a new home. It is particularly active; upon the slightest touch it rapidly runs out of its tube, either backwards or forwards, and after remaining for a time, until all apparent danger has passed, it retreats into its abode. The subsequent descriptions refer to the same specimen through all stages, so that the exact period from one stage to another may be given." - Frohawk (1924)

Chequered Skipper - larva (1st instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 02-Jul-15-3

Photo © Pete Eeles
02-Jul-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (1st instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 02-Jul-15-4

Photo © Pete Eeles
02-Jul-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (1st instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 02-Jul-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
02-Jul-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (1st instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 11-Jun-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
11-Jun-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (1st instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 13-Jun-16-28

Photo © Pete Eeles
13-Jun-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (1st instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 13-Jun-16-36

Photo © Pete Eeles
13-Jun-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (1st instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 13-Jun-16-42

Photo © Pete Eeles
13-Jun-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (1st instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 13-Jun-16-46

Photo © Pete Eeles
13-Jun-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (1st instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 21-Jun-16-8

Photo © Pete Eeles
21-Jun-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (1st instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 22-Jun-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
22-Jun-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (1st instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 24-Jun-15-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
24-Jun-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (1st instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 24-Jun-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
24-Jun-2015

Photo Album (12 photos) ...


2nd Instar

"The first moult on July 8th. After the first moult the larva is nearly 6 mm. long. The body is cylindrical and slender, without markings; the segments are all defined and transversely wrinkled. It is clothed with very short and fine hairs, most minute, giving the surface a velvety appearance; the colour is a very pale yellowish-green, in certain lights appearing of a whitish-green; the head is large, elongated and flattened above, black and shining, as also is the collar on the first segment." - Frohawk (1924)

Chequered Skipper - larva (2nd instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 02-Jul-15-3

Photo © Pete Eeles
02-Jul-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (2nd instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 02-Jul-15-4

Photo © Pete Eeles
02-Jul-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (2nd instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 02-Jul-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
02-Jul-2015

Photo Album (3 photos) ...


3rd Instar

"The second moult on July 17th; it then measures 8 mm. long; colour very pale green, with a fine longitudinal medio-dorsal line of a darker green and a sub-dorsal green line, slightly darker than the ground colour; each line is bordered by a paler stripe. The head is black and mottled with pale brownish-grey, occupying the centre of each lobe, and a blotch above the mouth. There are five glistening black warts, set on a glazed collar of pale green encircling the dorsal half of the first segment; the central wart is largest; on the last segment is an elongated oval black mark, narrowed in the centre. On July 24th, being thirty days old, and still after the second moult, it was exactly 12.7 mm. long, 2.5 mm. in diameter, and perfectly cylindrical throughout." - Frohawk (1924)

Chequered Skipper - larva (3rd instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 04-Jul-16-30

Photo © Pete Eeles
04-Jul-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (3rd instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 04-Jul-16-37

Photo © Pete Eeles
04-Jul-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (3rd instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 04-Jul-16-47

Photo © Pete Eeles
04-Jul-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (3rd instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 04-Jul-16-53

Photo © Pete Eeles
04-Jul-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (3rd instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 18-Jul-15-4

Photo © Pete Eeles
18-Jul-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (3rd instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 18-Jul-15-6

Photo © Pete Eeles
18-Jul-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (3rd instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 18-Jul-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
18-Jul-2015

Photo Album (7 photos) ...


4th Instar

"Third moult on July 30th. Seven days after the third moult, forty-four days old, it measured 18 mm. The body is the same shape as in previous stage; colour pale whitish-green, a rather dark green medio-dorsal longitudinal line, bordered on each side by an almost white very fine line, followed by alternate darker and lighter lines; the lightest being extremely fine. Then a sub-dorsal darker green line, bordered laterally by a conspicuous whitish line, which is again bordered below by a paler and indistinct green line, and a very faint spiracular whitish stripe on which the spiracles are placed; they are white, outlined by a dark but indistinct ring; the under surface is whitish-green; the head is about the same width as the body, rather depressed and of a pale greenish-grey colour with black markings, one central between the lobes and one down the middle of each lobe, the central one bifurcating and uniting with the others in front; the eye spots are black; both the head and body are clothed with very short stiff hairs; the anal segment is elongated, porrected and flattened, overlapping the hind claspers; the central black marking previously mentioned is in this stage very conspicuous; the legs are dark grey with whitish extremities; the claspers the same colour as the under surface; the segments are transversely wrinkled." - Frohawk (1924)

Chequered Skipper [Tony Millard]

Photo © Tony Millard

Chequered Skipper - larva (4th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 23-Jul-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
23-Jul-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (4th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 23-Jul-16-12

Photo © Pete Eeles
23-Jul-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (4th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 23-Jul-16-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
23-Jul-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (4th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 23-Jul-16-19

Photo © Pete Eeles
23-Jul-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (4th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 23-Jul-16-20

Photo © Pete Eeles
23-Jul-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (4th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 28-Jul-15-5

Photo © Pete Eeles
28-Jul-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (4th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 28-Jul-15-6

Photo © Pete Eeles
28-Jul-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (4th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 28-Jul-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
28-Jul-2015

Photo Album (9 photos) ...


5th Instar

"The fourth and last moult took place on August 17th, or possibly early on the 18th, as on that morning its cast head skin was lying below the tube, in which it moulted. About 4 p.m. that day the writer expelled it from the tube by gently touching its head, when it instantly ran out backwards. When its portrait was made it remained motionless for a long time. The colour was then of a clear, pale whitish-green; on each segmental division the skin is loosely wrinkled, each fold or wrinkle being pale yellowish-white, especially noticeable between the first six or seven segments; the remainder are fairly uniform in colour; each segment is delicately wrinkled transversely, in addition to the divisional folds mentioned. In this moult a great and important change takes place, i.e., in the colouring of the head, and the disappearance of the ovate black blotch on the last segment (which is so conspicuous in the previous stage) and the black warts and collar on the first segment. The head is now entirely of a pale whitish-green with a faint bluish tinge, excepting an extremely fine central black line separating the lobes of the crown, and there are about six tiny black warts in the region of the eye: four are in the form of a crescent, the two lowest are the most conspicuous and bead-like. On each segment are a few exceedingly small black specks, only just visible by the aid of a strong lens; the most distinct are those forming a double longitudinal dorsal series, two in the middle of each segment. These appear concave and very metallic, reflecting a high light. The markings appear precisely similar to those in the previous stage; the legs, claspers and under surface are uniformly pale green in colour. Below the spiracles the body is dilated, making the under surface flat and rather concave. The head is large, fully 2.1 mm. in length, and broad in proportion. It is porrected and slightly compressed on the crown; the body is about the same width as the head and of equal thickness throughout; the anal flap is of the same form as before moulting. Both the head and body are clothed with short fine hair; the surface of the head is finely granulated. Upon measuring the larva it was found to have decreased in length by 1.3 mm., but was stouter in proportion. On September 12th it had considerably increased in length, then measuring 23.8 mm. long, and the colour had changed to a clear yellowish-green, but still pale; in other respects it was the same as described. If touched when resting in an extended position it immediately contracts itself, becoming much less in length. On October 3rd, 101 days old; length the same as on September 12th, but more robust; moreover, the ground colour had changed to a very pale primrose-yellow and the stripes to a slightly darker hue, the white lateral line showing clearly, and spiracles brownish; the head pale buff with a faint lilac tinge, with a black patch above the mouth and brownish at the sides, the black eye spots and central line showing as before. About the middle of October it prepared itself for hibernation by spinning two blades of grass together at the edges, so forming a tube, in which it remained perfectly motionless during the winter months. The two blades were united along one side, the other edges not quite meeting, but drawn round its body as close as possible, leaving a part of its dorsal surface exposed. In this enveloped state it remained absolutely quiescent from the middle of October until March 12th, 1892. During hibernation the colour had again changed, being on February 9th, 1892, a pale pearl-grey and having a semi-transparent appearance, the dorsal line drab and clearly defined. On March 12th it slightly advanced to the end of its hibernaculum, so that its head protruded. It so remained until March 21st, when it quitted its abode, and another portrait of it was obtained; and upon again measuring it it was found less in length since it commenced hibernating, it then being (March 21st) 19 mm. long, and the colour had also again changed to a delicate cream or very pale primrose, inclining to a pinkish hue, and the lines were a pink-drab and very clearly defined, the sub-dorsal lines being separated by an almost pure white stripe; the head remained unaltered in colour. Since hibernation it did not feed at all, and generally remained quiet, lying along a grass blade, which evidently was occasioned by the low temperature during the latter part of March. April 1st being warm and bright, the plant was placed in the sun, which soon revived the larva, as it began moving restlessly about, and soon began to spin the tips of the grass together. On the following day it remained in the same position all day, but at times moved its head from side to side, evidently spinning more threads. On April 3rd it was in precisely the same position, but motionless and prepared for pupation. It had drawn together with silk six blades of grass at the ends, forming a tent-like structure, and along the surface of one of the broadest a little carpet of silk was spun, upon which it rested with its head uppermost; a silk cincture also encircled its body round the fourth segment. On April 8th at midday it pupated. It was observed just in the act of casting the larval skin, which it quickly accomplished; by raising and curving its body it became detached from the shrivelled skin. When thus free it was only suspended by the cincture round its middle, and then it at once began feeling for the silk on the grass with the anal segment (the larval skin still adhering to the silk) by lowering and curving the body over the slough until it reached the silk, when immediately some of the cremastral hooks anchored to it. It then remained quiet for about a minute, as if resting after its exertions, and then writhed itself to and fro, with evident labour, each time gradually pushing aside the slough, and again rested, which process it repeated several times, resting for about a minute between each effort, until it finally became quite firmly attached to the silk, and the slough hanging by the side of the anal segment. The process of securing itself occupied about twenty minutes. The larva remained fixed for pupation at least five days. Altogether it was 289 days in the larval state." - Frohawk (1924)

Chequered Skipper - larva (5th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 12-Nov-15-5

Photo © Pete Eeles
12-Nov-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (5th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 05-Sep-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
05-Sep-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (5th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 14-Apr-16-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
14-Apr-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (5th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 26-Aug-15-8

Photo © Pete Eeles
26-Aug-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (5th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 05-Sep-15-6

Photo © Pete Eeles
05-Sep-2015

Chequered Skipper3 [Tony Millard]

Photo © Tony Millard

Chequered Skipper - larva - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 01-Sep-14-8

Photo © Pete Eeles
01-Sep-2014

Chequered Skipper - larva (5th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 28-Mar-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
28-Mar-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva - Glasdrum Wood, Scotland - 18-Sep-14

Photo © Pete Eeles
18-Sep-2014

Chequered Skipper - larva (5th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 27-Mar-16-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
27-Mar-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (5th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 21-Aug-15-12

Photo © Pete Eeles
21-Aug-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (5th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 21-Aug-15-13

Photo © Pete Eeles
21-Aug-2015

Chequered Skipper [Tom Prescott]

Photo © Tom Prescott

Chequered Skipper - larva (5th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 21-Mar-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
21-Mar-2016

Chequered Skipper - larva (5th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 03-Apr-16-12

Photo © Pete Eeles
03-Apr-2016

Chequered Skipper [BC Scotland]

Photo © BC Scotland

Chequered Skipper - larva (5th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 30-Mar-16-3

Photo © Pete Eeles
30-Mar-2016

Chequered Skipper4 [Martin Warren]

Photo © Martin Warren

Chequered Skipper - larva (5th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 28-Oct-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
28-Oct-2015

Chequered Skipper - larva (5th instar) - Glasdrum Wood - 17-Aug-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Aug-2015

Photo Album (54 photos) ...


Pupa

On emerging from the hibernaculum in April, the larva rests for several days without feeding. It then spins several blades of dead grass together, forming a shelter within which it pupates, the pupa resembling a piece of withered grass. This stage lasts approximately 6 weeks.

"In three hours after pupation it assumed its final form and colour, having altered but very little in colour from the last colouration of the larva. The pupa measures 15.9 mm. in length, is fairly cylindrical, but tapering to the anal segment. Dorsal view: The head is pointed in front in the form of a short conical beak; the eyes are rather prominent; the thorax is swollen in the middle, the widest part, and then gradually tapers towards the last segment, which is elongated and flattened. Lateral view: The beak is slightly upturned, the thorax convex, and the base of the abdomen is swollen, so forming a depression at the waist where the cincture passes round. The abdomen gradually tapers to the last segment, which terminates in a long, compressed, curved process furnished with long hooks; the wing cases extend down two-thirds its length, and only very slightly, if at all, swollen; the antennae and legs are but feebly modelled; the tongue is well defined; it is dusky at the base, blending into black at the apex; the colour is of a very pale primrose-yellow, shading into pearly-grey, and semi-transparent on the head, wings and anal segments. A dark medio-dorsal line commences at the base of the beak and passes down the entire length, gradually fading off in the anal extremity; it is blackest on the head and first abdominal segment and palest on the thorax, where it is light brown; there are two rust-red sub-dorsal lines, which run parallel from the base of the antennae to the last segment; another similar line united along the inner margin of the wing passes over two spiracles, and then runs parallel with the sub-dorsal lines, passing just above the remaining five spiracles, which are indicated by brownish specks. At the base of the antennae are two short and fine blackish streaks; the antennae and wings are outlined faintly with dusky brown. In general appearance and colouring the pupa closely resembles a piece of dead, withered grass. On May 16th the pupa began to change colour, the wings turning greyish and eyes a deep pinkish-purple, and it finally became a dull leaden-grey all over. A female imago emerged on May 20th, remaining in the pupal state forty-two days. Like other Hesperidae larvae, palaemon has the power of casting its excrement sideways with considerable force, sending it a foot or more, which is a means to prevent fouling its domicile." - Frohawk (1924)

palaemon ppe [Wolfgang Wagner]

Photo © Wolfgang Wagner
www.pyrgus.de

palaemon ppeschl [Wolfgang Wagner]

Photo © Wolfgang Wagner
www.pyrgus.de. Pupa prior to emergence.

Chequered Skipper - pupa - Glasdrum Wood - 07-Apr-16-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
07-Apr-2016

Chequered Skipper - pupa - Glasdrum Wood - 07-Apr-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
07-Apr-2016

Chequered Skipper - pupa - Glasdrum Wood - 10-Apr-16-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
10-Apr-2016

Chequered Skipper - pupa - Glasdrum Wood - 10-Apr-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
10-Apr-2016

Chequered Skipper - pupa - Glasdrum Wood - 12-May-16-3

Photo © Pete Eeles
12-May-2016

Chequered Skipper - pupa - Glasdrum Wood - 12-May-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
12-May-2016

Chequered Skipper - pupa - Glasdrum Wood - 14-Apr-16-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
14-Apr-2016

Chequered Skipper - pupa - Glasdrum Wood - 14-Apr-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
14-Apr-2016

Chequered Skipper - pupa - Glasdrum Wood - 18-May-16-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
18-May-2016

Chequered Skipper - pupa - Glasdrum Wood - 18-May-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
18-May-2016

Chequered Skipper - pupa - Glasdrum Wood - 22-Apr-16-4

Photo © Pete Eeles
22-Apr-2016

Chequered Skipper - pupa - Glasdrum Wood - 22-Apr-16-5

Photo © Pete Eeles
22-Apr-2016

Chequered Skipper - pupa - Glasdrum Wood - 22-Apr-16-6

Photo © Pete Eeles
22-Apr-2016

Chequered Skipper - pupa - Glasdrum Wood - 22-Apr-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
22-Apr-2016

Photo Album (16 photos) ...


Aberrations

Description to be completed.

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References

The species description provided here references the following publications:

ReferenceDetails
Aurivillius (1925) Aurivillius, C. (1925) In Seitz: Die Großschmetterlinge der Erde.
Frohawk (1924) Frohawk, F.W. (1924) The Natural History of British Butterflies.
Haworth (1803) Haworth, A.H. (1803) Lepidoptera Britannica.
Latreille (1809) Latreille, P.A. (1809) Genera crustaceorum et insectorum secundum ordinem naturalem in familias disposita, iconibus exemplisque plurimis explicata.
Lederer (1852) Lederer, J. (1852) Verhandlungen der Zoologisch-Botanischen Vereins in Wien.
Mackworth-Praed (1945) Mackworth-Praed, C.W. (1945) Three Seasons in the Western Highlands. Entomologist's Monthly Magazine.
Morris (1853) Morris, Rev.F.O. (1853) A History of British Butterflies.
Pallas (1771) Pallas, P.S. (1771) Reise durch verschiedene Provinzen des russischen Reichs.
Samouelle (1819) Samouelle, G. (1819) The Entomologist's Useful Compendium.