Small orangey-brown butterfly on a dandelion-like flower

Lulworth Skipper. Photo: Mark Pike

The Lulworth Skipper is one of our smallest butterflies. It is restricted to the extreme south of Dorset where it can be found in large numbers along a stretch of coast centred on the village of Lulworth, where the species was first discovered in 1832. It has expanded into Portland and the grassland behind the Fleet.

Where to see

Habitat: South-facing Purbeck hillsides

Caterpillar foodplants: Tor Grass

Best places: Durlston Country Park, Bindon Hill

Distribution map

Explore the Atlas to see historical distribution trends for this species.

When to see

In theory, July to Mid September, with a peak in August - this used to be the norm. However, weather changes over the last few years have stretched the flight period in some years from the last week in April to early September and moved the peak period to June/July. (Note: the automated graph below only represents sightings sent to the website, while these comments are based on broader data).

Sightings by month (last 5 years)*:

Sightings this year*:

Browse the sightings archive.


Size: Small

Size is a key point in identification – Lulworth Skippers are smaller than Large Skippers and slightly smaller than Small Skippers, not that this helps much if you are not seeing them together!

Lulworth Skippers which are fresh have a light dusting of golden marks in the centre of the forewing, which in the female is a distinctive circle.

Lulworths do not have the much paler yellow dots around the edges of the forewings which are key ID features for Large Skipper.

Old Lulworth Skippers go a rather greenish olive-brown, which distinguishes them from the other Skippers. Lulworths also hold their wings characteristically with the hindwings at a lower angle.

Photo gallery

Tip: Click thumbnails to view full-size images.

*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.

Find more Lulworth Skipper related content, including news and photos.