Friday, 22 July 2016

Precious metal ...

Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus)

O. sylvanus typically inhabits sheltered areas of grassland where grasses grow tall. Classic sites include meadows, hedgerows, roadside verges, woodland rides and woodland clearings. It can also be found in urban areas, such as parks and churchyards. It can often be found basking on vegetation, or making short buzzing flights amongst vegetation. Like many other skippers, the male of this species alternates between perching, patrolling, basking and feeding. Patrolling behaviour is normally exhibited late-morning, with perching the norm in the early morning and afternoon. When perching, the males will defend their territory vigorously, and see off any butterfly that intrudes. Typical perches are sunlit leaves at a height of around a metre from the ground.

This is one of the largest of our ‘golden’ skippers and, like the others, the male has a distinctive sex brand on its forewings, containing specialised scent scales known as androconia. Their purpose is to disseminate pheromones in order to attract females during courtship; the strength of the pheromones diminishing with age. The adults are typically on the wing in June, through July, and into August. The above images, in descending order, show female and male from recent trips into local woodland.

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  1. Wish I could get such an in focus shot of one. Plenty of chances though, there's a lot around on sunny days

  2. Thank you, Simon. Don't be disheartened you haven't seen all the images I throw away!