Rosy Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus onopordi)

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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.

24089_male_Var_16Apr11 28765_male_Var_21Apr12 31767_male_Var_21Apr13
40239_male_Var_22Apr16 40324_female_Var_29Apr16 28840_female_Var_26Apr12
29958_female_Var_21Jun12 10227_female_Var_5May08 3552_male_Var_10Aug06
 
7661_female_Var_30Jun07 29995_female_Var_21Jun12  

A mid-size Pyrgus generally found at low altitudes, Lafranchis giving its altitude range as 0-1300m. It is not as common as other Pyrgus with which it might be confused, such as the Oberthur's Grizzled Skipper (P. armoricanus). Its range in France is limited to the south-east.

 

It is difficult to identify with confidence from the upperside alone, although a view of the underside is usually adequate to confirm onopordi. The upperside ground colour is dark brown with a slight yellow tint and the upf white marks are strong and clear, even in the female. The uph is reasonably strongly marked, the male more strongly than the female as is usual for Pyrgus. The unh defining feature is the so-called "anvil-shaped" discal mark in s4/5 where the concavity is reasonably even on both sides, making a rather symmetrical shape; however, this is "classic" onopordi but many onopordi have "anvils" that are not entirely symmetrical. Some similar Pyrgus have discal s4/5 marks that are decidedly straight on the internal edge.

The discal s1 mark is a bump seriously leaning internally which has the curious name of the "signe de Blachier", presumable by - or after - Blachier, who was a famous lepidopterist around the early 1900s. The unh ground colour is a light yellow-brown and the markings usually have black edging to a greater or lesser degree, creating what the books describe as a marbling effect. The veins are often slightly lighter and prominent.

 

H&R describes onopordi as bivoltine, two broods being on the wing April-June and again in July-September. I find I encounter it far more frequently in the early Spring, when there is little doubt as to its identification as the only other Pyrgus on the wing then is the Grizzled Skipper (P. malvae). Lafranchis says there are two or three broods and I have found onopordi in Var in April, June and September, strongly suggesting that three broods occur (or can occur) in the far south of France.

ref sex

observations

alt. m
24089 M a rather undistinguished upperside with no white marks particularly well developed, but about right for onopordi and there are good reasons why other species could be precluded. The date also rather precludes any other Pyrgus species 24089 could be confused with. 185
28765 M a male in typical territorial pose. 185
31767 M a very typical male. The uph discal markings are reasonably well-developed, but to a much lesser extent than armoricanus. 140
40239 M a male with rather diffuse yellowish-white markings especially on the hindwing. This is fairly normal for onopordi from southern Var. 140
40324 F a female with a very lightly marked hindwing. 220
28840 F a female with a rather cold dark brown ground colour. 185
29958 F a female, rather fresh and with a strong upf cell spot. 29995 below is the underside. 20
10227 F

I believe this is typical onopordi, more lightly marked as it is a female. The strong dark brown colour is in my experience an indication, plus the yellowish tint, and the early flight period virtually excludes any other Pyrgus it might be confused with.

220
3552 M

I'm guessing it's a male as it appears to be taking salts. I think this is 100% onopordi for several reasons: the unh discal mark in s4/5 is very clearly anvil-shaped; the discal mark in s1 is almost a perfect "signe de Blachier"; several of the white marks are black-edged giving a marbled effect. The veins are yellow. A beautifully marked little butterfly.

800
7661 F

the ground colour is a very pale, washy, yellow-brown, making the white marks rather indistinct. The anvil unh discal mark in s4/5 is rather flat-edged internally although strongly black-edged externally. The unh s1 discal mark is not a typical "signe de Blachier". It is not a classic onopordi, but clearly cannot be anything else.

140
29995 F a female, the underside of 29958. The marbling effect of the black edging, especially around the discal mark in s4/5, is characteristic of onopordi and does not occur in any other Pyrgus species. 20

 

24089_male_Var_16Apr11

 

28765_male_Var_21Apr12

 

31767_male_Var_21Apr13

 

40239_male_Var_22Apr16

 

40324_female_Var_29Apr16

 

28840_female_Var_26Apr12

 

29958_female_Var_21Jun12

 

10227_female_Var_5May08

 

3552_male_Var_10Aug06

 

7661_female_Var_30Jun07

 

29995_female_Var_21Jun12