Safflower Skipper (Pyrgus carthami)
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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.
This is relatively easy to differentiate from its Pyrgus cousins because it is significantly larger and has broad, rounded wings. It has a charcoal-grey colouring when fresh and has pale hair at the wing bases to a greater extent than other Pyrgus species. It has a powerful, often easy to follow, flight. The upf marking are strong and clear white, often elongated, and the cell spot is often Σ-shaped.
|From the upperside it could only be confused with the Yellow-banded Skipper (P. sidae), but their ranges do not overlap. The uph markings are quite characteristic, especially the sub-marginal discal series of often elongated discrete white streaks. The underside is also quite characteristic as the unh white margin is continuous along the whole of the wing, and no other Pyrgus has this, although Olive Skipper (P. serratulae) can sometimes be quite similar. It is a butterfly of medium to higher altitudes.|
|26153||M||a very fresh carthami, with a strong grey-brown ground colour and rather weaker white markings.||1400|
|26587||M||very strong white markings especially on the uph.||1400|
classic carthami colouring and I suspect it may have only just emerged. The upf markings are quite small but the uph markings are strong and unmistakeable. 20776 is the underside of this specimen.
|30603||M||this male does not have the characteristic white contrasted uph markings expected of carthami, but the upf markings are fairly typical.||2020|
very strong and elongated upf marks.
|32502||M||a rather brown individual, slightly unusual but well within the range for this species.||1080|
|33639||M||a typically grey individual.||1600|
|35197||M||a male, quite a dark and cold brown colour.||1000|
|41302||M||a quite pale and strongly marked male taking salts from the damp ground. A Tufted Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus flocciferus) is also in shot.||1120|
the elongated upf marks point strongly toward carthami and the small uph submarginal dots are indicative of carthami, so I am inclined to go for carthami but comment is invited.
a female, I think clearly shown by the body shape. The upf white markings are quite strong, probably more so than the male, and the uph markings quite faint; as such it matches the illustration in T&L almost perfectly.
the underside of 20871, showing the continuous white margin. This angle also shows the beautifully curved wing shape to good effect.
|30271||M||a male underside, the white markings being quite discrete on a sandy ground colour. The margin is continuous although narrow and not white and contrasted with the ground colour.||1400|