Where to see
Habitat: Open/rough ground, clearings and roadside verges.
Caterpillar foodplants: Cocksfoot grass, Creeping Soft Grass
Best places: Widely found, but try Stour Valley, Alners Gorse, Hatch Pond (Poole) or Bindon Hill.
Reported from the following locations last year*:
When to see
Possibly out by the end of June, July is it's main period, with it possibly going just into August.
Sightings by month (last 5 years)*:
Sightings this year*:
The most reliable way to tell an Essex Skipper from a Small Skipper is by the black tips to its antennae: they must show a clear cut offs which are visible from the underside too. If the antennae are greyish, brown or patchy black, they are not Essex.
A less reliable feature is that with Essex Skippers the underside tips of the upper wings are usually orange like the rest of the wing. Small Skipper wing tips change to a muddy yellow which matches the colour of their hind wing underside.
The scent brand (the black slash) on the upper forewing of the male Essex Skipper is short, straight & parallel with the wing edge. The Small Skipper scent brand is long, thick, slightly curved and not parallel to the edge of the wing.
Click thumbnails to view larger images.
*Please note: The charts shown on this page are drawn only from casual sightings submitted to this website. Records from this website will be added to a lot more data collected throughout the year and used to compile the five-yearly Butterfly Atlases for Dorset and the UK.