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Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae) | by Tim Melling
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Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae)

This tiny butterfly appears on the wing in mid May, and is found sparingly in the southern half of Britain and throughout Wales. Its population declined through the twentieth century and the trend continues downwards.

 

Its caterpillars usually feed on Wild Strawberry or Creeping Cinquefoil in scrubby habitats with bare ground.

 

The scientific name is Pyrgus malvae; Pyrgus is a battlement, presumably from the chequered border that looks like a crenellated battlement. The name malvae comes from Malva (Mallow) given in error by Linnaeus, who stated that this was its foodplant. In his defence, there are other rather similar European Skippers whose larvae do feed on Mallow.

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Taken on May 18, 2012