Essex Skipper - Thymelicus lineola


This species is very similar in appearance to the Small Skipper. The main distinguishing feature of the Essex Skipper is that the tips of its antennae are completely black, as if they have been dipped in ink. The male is distinguished from the female by the sex brand on its forewings, which is a short line of specialised scent scales.

Similar Species

As described above, the Essex Skipper needs to be separated from the more common Small Skipper by closely examining the tips of the antenna to check they are completely black. In the Small Skipper, the black is only on the dorsal side.

Identification difficulty

This species is found in rough grassland, including road verges, woodland rides, chalk grassland and embankments.

When to see it

Adults are on the wing throughout July and August.

Life History

There is a single generation each year with the larvae feeding on grasses such as Couch and Cocks-foot.

UK Status

Despite its name, the Essex Skipper is now found over much of the southern half of England and it was first recorded in Wales in 2000. It is believed that the steep and grass-covered embankments that are often found on motorways and major trunk roads assisted the increase in distribution. These have acted as corridors allowing it to reach new locations more easily.

VC55 Status

Occasional. Not as frequently recorded as Small Skipper in Leicestershire and Rutland but now established throughout most of the area.

57.005 BF1527

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map