Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma)

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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.

9449_male_Var_3Sep07 26781_male_Alpes-Maritimes_09Jul11 9428_female_Var_3Sep07
31581_female_Var_16Sep12 18285_male?_Isère_13Jul09 19387_male?_Var_05Sep09
8650_male_Var_31Jul07 14164_female_Var_2Sep08 23628_sex?_Var_4Sep10

A rarity in the UK but not uncommon in France, where it seems to be far more common at altitude (even at around 2000m), and in fact I've rarely seen it at altitudes of less than 800m. It seems to emerge in August and is still going strong well into September, and numbers can sometimes be counted in hundreds. The underside spots are white, not silver, and can vary quite significantly. The sexes can be differentiated by the clear male upf sex brand, and that the male upf colouring is lighter and more orange than the female.

From the upperside alone, it could easily be confused with the Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus) but the upf markings of comma are generally darker and better contrasted than sylvanus in both sexes. The comma male upf black sex brand is longer and wider (especially at the base) and is ridged at the top edge. From the underside, the markings of sylvanus are quite pale and poorly contrasted, whereas for comma they are white and well contrasted against the background and usually quite jagged.

ref sex

observations

alt. m
9449 M

a male, as indicated by the lighter colouring, the black upf sex-brand, and the body shape.

780
26781 M this male shows the narrowness of the forewings, with a rather concave costa. 2020
9428 F

a female, as indicated by the absence of the upf sex brand.

780
31581 F

a female, quite dark and with the forewing costa being more concave than usual.

810
18285 M?

a rather pale but warm brown ground colour and yellowish light spots, resulting in little contrast, where the comma underside spots are often strongly contrasted.

1450
19387 M?

a typically dark underside ground colour with rather white spots which contrast nicely. Compare to 18285.

920
8650 M

a male, clearly I think, on the basis of body length.

450
14164 F

I'm reasonably confident that this a female, based on the very fat body shape (but how fat are males?) and body length not extending beyond the wings.

920
23628 F?

possibly a female based on body length and shape.

560

 

9449_male_Var_3Sep07

 

26781_male_Alpes-Maritimes_09Jul11

 

9428_female_Var_3Sep07

 

31581_female_Var_16Sep12

 

18285_male?_Isère_13Jul09

 

19387_male?_Var_05Sep09

 

8650_male_Var_31Jul07

 

14164_female_Var_2Sep08

 

23628_sex?_Var_4Sep10