Foulquier's Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus bellieri)

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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.

37958_male_Alpes-Maritimes_27Jun15 37959_male_Alpes-Maritimes_27Jun15 34886_female_Var_27May14

 

34225_female_Var_1Sep13

34227_female_Var_1Sep13

 

This is rather uncommon Pyrgus of south-eastern France, with isolated localities in Spain and Italy (where it occurs as the subspecies picenus). It is quite a large Pyrgus and the male upperside is well marked with strong white markings especially on the forewing, where the marks are usually jagged at the edges. The female is less strongly marked, I believe, although neither of the Lafranchis books has an illustration of the female. T&L does have an illustration of the female but this appears to only slightly less strongly marked than the male, whereas all of the photographs of female bellieri (that can be trusted to be such) have much weaker markings that are slightly jagged. H&R does state that the female markings are smaller and that it has a yellowish reflection.

 

The key identifier for the male is that it has a tuft of white hairs at the end of the abdomen, extending to just below the lower part of the abdomen.

I am fairly sure I have seen a male in 2003 and have a rather poor photograph but did not realise at the time that the end of the abdomen was the key. I waited rather a long time - until 2015 - for a second opportunity.

 

The other key, as it seems to me, is that the unh discal s1 mark is particularly large, much more so than for other Pyrgus with which it could be confused. The unh ground colour is said to be yellow-brown although Matt Rowlings refers to a greenish underside.

I am reasonably confident that that 34225/34227 shown on this page is bellieri as it is from a known site for this species and where I had seen it (without getting a photograph) in 2012.

Its flight period is mid-July to end-August.

This species was previously known as Pyrgus foulquieri.

ref

sex

observations

alt. m

37958

M

a male, which seems to tick all the boxes for bellieri, especially the jagged upf white marks. I was granted a brief view at the same location where I had previously seen this species in 2003, and managed to get an upperside shot.

1000

37959

M

this is the underside of 37958. It was disturbed on the ground by another butterfly and flew off, settling briefly to allow an underside shot of sorts. It just about shows the extensive white hair tuft at the base of the end of the abdomen, the key identifying feature of bellieri, although the upperside markings of fresh specimens are almost conclusive on their own. The underside shot also shows the exceptionally large (relative to other Pyrgus) mark in discal s1.

1000

34886

F

this female is a mystery. It was exceptionally large, much larger than the Oberthur's Grizzled Skipper (P. armoricanus) that were flying at the same location. The marks, even though worn, match very closely the jagged marks typical of bellieri, and a view of the underside showed marks consistent with bellieri, especially the large discal mark in s1. However, bellieri is a late season butterfly and the end of May would be way too early for a female in worn condition (females generally emerging about a week before the males). I believe further evidence is required before 34886 can be considered as bellieri with any degree of confidence. Comments are invited.

220

34225

F

a rather battered female at the end of the flight period, although the upf markings are what would be expected for this species. 34227 is the underside.

680

34227

F

the underside of 34225. The ground colour is yellow-brown and the discal s1 mark is large, which I believe to be indicative of this species.

680

 

37958_male_Alpes-Maritimes_27Jun15

 

37959_male_Alpes-Maritimes_27Jun15

 

34886_female_Var_27May14

 

34225_female_Var_1Sep13

 

34227_female_Var_1Sep13