Tufted Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus flocciferus)

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2016 photographs highlighted in green. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

12379_male_Isère_10Jul08 16828_male_Alpes-Maritimes_27Jun09 12616_male_Isère_11Jul08
24791_male_Var_15May11 34791_male_Var_8May14 37321_male_Var_16May15
41099_male_Hautes-Alpes_8Jul16 41285_male_Isère_11Jul16 41162_pair_Isère_10Jul16
41164_pair_Isère_10Jul16 12742_male_Isère_11Jul08 22829_male_Isère_19Jul10

Presumably when flocciferus was given its English name, confusion with the Marbled Skipper (C. lavatherae) was a key consideration, although these two species are very different. Lavatherae is quite light with extensive white marks on the uph, especially in the discal series, but also a series of slightly sagittate white submarginal marks. Lavatherae appears very light, almost white, in flight. Flocciferus is darker, larger, but has a clear white uph discal mark, and other minor marks in this region. Flocciferus can be very dark, almost black, especially when fresh. The underside is also easy to identify, as the prominent white marginal markings are impossible to confuse with any other Carcharodus species in France.

 

Flocciferus is perhaps more easily confused with the Mallow Skipper (C. alceae) as it is essentially similar in terms of the basic pattern of the

upperside markings. Alceae is generally smaller than flocciferus and does not have the white uph discal marks, although it can rarely have a quite pale uph discal mark. Flocciferus may also be confused with the Southern Marbled Skipper (C. baeticus), although baeticus is smaller and has more extensive uph discal white marks.

 

I would say that flocciferus, for a reputedly uncommon butterfly, is encountered more frequently than I would have expected from reading the textbooks. Lavatherae is widespread but not particularly common in Var.

 

The best way to differentiate between the sexes for both species is by size (females are always larger), body shape and the hair tuft at the end of the abdomen which indicates male.

ref

sex

observations

alt. m

12379

M

a rather dark grey male, with nice contrast for the white markings.

1120

16828

M

a dark-ish male, not quite as dark as 12379 though. It looks as though a predator has taken a bite out of the upf wing-tip.

900

12616

M

from the same location as 12379, but much more typically coloured, although a rather warm brown.

1120

24791

M

a rather browner ground colour, perhaps due to the lower altitude. The series of discal spots is quite well developed.

280

34791 M a male in territorial pose. 220
37321 M a male in territorial pose, very typical of this species where the male will return to the same perch after chasing off interlopers. 220
41099 M a typical male, in a typical territorial pose. 1490
41285 M a rather dark male, with the right hindwing appearing slightly smaller than the one on the left. 1120
41162 M a mating pair, the male on the left, as indicated by the just-visible abdominal hair tuft. 1120
41164 M the same mating pair as in 41162 with closed wings, showing the underside. 1120

12742

M

a rare sight of the underside. Very little contrast to the markings, and rather lighter than the illustration in T&L.

1120

22829

M

a male underside, almost an exact match for T&L and clearly showing the diagnostic unh marginal white streaks.

1120

 

12379_male_Isère_10Jul08

 

16828_male_Alpes-Maritimes_27Jun09

 

12616_male_Isère_11Jul08

 

24791_male_Var_15May11

 

34791_male_Var_8May14

 

37321_male_Var_16May15

 

41099_male_Hautes-Alpes_8Jul16

 

41285_male_Isère_11Jul16

 

41162_pair_Isère_10Jul16

 

41164_pair_Isère_10Jul16

 

12742_male_Isère_11Jul08

 

22829_male_Isère_19Jul10