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Large Chequered Skipper Butterfly - Heteropterus morpheus

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Lepidoptera - Family: Hesperiidae

Large Chequered Skipper Butterfly - Heteropterus morpheus

The Large Chequered Skipper has rather dull upperwings, which are rarely seen as it generally rests with its wings closed; however, the underwings are unmistakable, and so identification errors are most unlikely to occur.

Description

In flight this member of the 'skipper' group is distinguished by its bouncing flight pattern (not unlike that of a Great Spotted Woodpecker but on an much smaller scale). At rest with its wings closed, the black-ringed white bubble-like spots on a yellow background identify the Large Chequered Skipper uniquely.

Heteropterus morpheus, Large Chequered Skipper, underwing view

Habitat

Look out for this remarkable butterfly on woodland edges and in grassy woodland clearings.

Distribution

In Britain this butterfly has been recorded on just two or three occasions and certainly cannot be considered a native species. Its geographic rage is patchy but covers much of central and eastern Europe, including France, Italy and parts of northern Spain.

Large Chequered Skipper Butterfly, Heteropterus morpheus, underwing view

Lifecycle

The larval foodplants are various kinds of grasses. The foodplants are various grasses in different genera, on which the larvae feed in a feeding tube made from a folded blade of grass. The larvae hibernate within this tube. Adults fly in a single generation in late June and July.

Large Chequered Skippers lays their eggs inside grass sheathes during June and July. The caterpillars emerge and then go into hibernation until winter is over, when they pupate in early spring.

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