Thymelicus sylvestris (NL: Geelsprietdikkopje / EN: Small Skipper / DE: Braunkolbige Braun-Dickkopffalter, Ockergelbe Braun-Dickkopffalter / FR: Hespérie de la houque, Bande noire) is a small furry butterfly of the Hesperiidae family. It has a rusty orange colour to the wings, upper body and the tips of the antennae. The body is silvery white below and it has a wingspan of 25–30 mm. This butterfly is very similar in appearance to Thymelicus lineola. In T.sylvestris the undersides of the tips of the antennae are yellow orange, whereas they are black in T.lineola. This species inhabits rough grassland, where tall grasses grow, and may occur on roadside verges, beside hedgerows, on overgrown downland, in woodland clearings and along woodland rides. The caterpillars feed on various grasses and the adults drink nectar from flowers such as thistles.
This butterfly is capable of very rapid darting flight, manoeuvring expertly through tall grass stems. They are more likely, however, to be seen resting at a flower drinking nectar or simply basking in the sun.
Image: Val Bregaglia (CH) - 20/07/2011
© Johan Dierckx
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