Olive Skipper (Pyrgus serratulae)

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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.

18205_male_Isère_12Jul09 17795_male_Hautes-Alpes_10Jul09 22476_male_Isère_17Jul10
36192_male_Hautes-Alpes_15Jul14 38175_male_Hautes-Alpes_6Jul15 41382_male_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul16
41398_male_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul16 41400_male_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul16 3742_female_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_14Aug06
33377_female_Hautes-Alpes_3Jul13 35206_female_Alpes-Maritimes_3Jun14 33360_female_Hautes-Alpes_3Jul13
   
25699_sex?_Alpes-Maritimes_11Jun11    

A medium-sized Pyrgus that I encounter most frequently at medium to high altitude, even though the altitude range given by Lafranchis is 0-2200m. It has a medium dark brown upperside ground colour and the female is said to have a brassy olive tinge, although I have never seen this, but probably because I have not seen many fresh females. The upf is very lightly marked with smallish white spots in both sexes, usually more strongly marked in the male. The uph is almost completely unmarked except for very pale, almost vestigial, markings. However, I have seen examples of what must be serratulae where the extent of the upf white marks is considerably greater than the classic pattern. The unh ground colour is olive to yellow-green, this being the reason for its English name.

The unh distinguishing features are the rather solid arc-shaped marks in marginal s1/2; the discal s1 rounded but non-leaning bump; the discal s4/5 mark being relatively narrow and flat-edged internally and of about the same width as s6/7; and, most often quoted, the basal spot in s7 is circular or oval(-ish), although the limits of this feature are unclear as I suspect that there are serratulae where this mark is rather rectangular with heavily rounded corners and in this respect could give rise to confusion with other species.

 

 

ref sex

observations

alt. m
18205 M

from the lightness of the markings, I don't think this could be anything other than serratulae. A male, as indicated by the abdominal hair tuft and its puddling behaviour.

1120
17795 M

a male, although the upf markings are rather stronger, equally the uph markings are virtually non-existent apart from a vestigial discal mark.

1890
22476 M

I feel this has to be a male serratulae.

1120
36192 M a male from high altitude. It is very strongly marked by serratulae standards, and the identification was confirmed by a clear view of the underside. 2550
38175 M a fairly typical male in terms of upf white markings. 2020
41382 M a quite light pale brown ground colour, perhaps untypical for serratulae, but if not, I can't see what Pyrgus species it could be. Carlinae, perhaps? It also has quite well-developed hindwing markings for serratulae. 1960
41398 M a rather darker ground colour than 41382 and with much larger, bolder upf markings. 1960
41400 M a male, similar to 41382 but even more lightly marked. These two and 41398 were all seen at the same location on the same day, indicating just how variable serratulae can be even within a small population. 1960
3742 F

very pale and drab, with very few markings on the upf all of which are concentrated in s5-7, with s1-4 almost completely unmarked. The uph is almost completely unmarked with very pale, almost vestigial, markings. It is almost certainly a female based on body shape. It could be alveus, carlinae, or serratulae, the females of which are all lightly marked; I would plump for serratulae on the grounds that the uph is virtually unmarked (alveus and carlinae have pale but somewhat stronger uph markings), and the absence of any upf markings in s1-4 which matches the book illustrations of serratulae, whereas alveus and carlinae have some weak markings in these areas. The strength of the cell spot does give me some concerns about serratulae, though. All three have an upper altitude range in excess of 2000m, so the altitude would not tend to eliminate any of these three possibilities.

2000
33377 F a female, very fresh and may have just emerged. The upf yellow-brown dusting at the base of the wing tends to become less sandy with age. 33360 is the underside. 1700
35206 F a female, a rather poor photograph but it does illustrate classic serratulae in terms of the colouring and most markings. The basal mark in s7 is not typically rounded, but the discal mark in s4/5 is classic serratulae; the white margin is white and continuous, showing why such specimens can easily be mis-identified as Safflower Skipper (Pyrgus carthami) for which this white margin is often quoted as characteristic. 1080
33360 F the colouring is distinctly olive-brown and the markings are classical, albeit small, for this species, especially the basal s7 mark which is very nicely rounded. 33377 is the upperside. 1700
25699 M? possibly a male as it appears that the end of the abdomen shows a hair tuft. The discal s1 bump is wide and non-leaning, the marginal s2 is neatly arch-shaped and filled in, the discal s4/5 mark is quite wide, and the basal s7 mark is nicely rounded, all adding up to a virtually 100% identification for serratulae. 2000

 

18205_male_Isère_12Jul09

 

17795_male_Hautes-Alpes_10Jul09

 

22476_male_Isère_17Jul10

 

36192_male_Hautes-Alpes_15Jul14

 

38175_male_Hautes-Alpes_6Jul15

 

41382_male_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul16

 

41398_male_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul16

 

41400_male_Hautes-Alpes_14Jul16

 

3742_female_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_14Aug06

 

33377_female_Hautes-Alpes_3Jul13

 

35206_female_Alpes-Maritimes_3Jun14

 

33360_female_Hautes-Alpes_3Jul13

 

25699_sex?_Alpes-Maritimes_11Jun11