Large Skipper

Ochlodes sylvanus (Esper, 1777)



A small yellowish-brown, butterfly, with a short antenna. Males have a broad black androconial streak on the upperside forewing. There is a distinct brown border. The hindwing underside has a greenish tinge, with pale spots. The prominent markings and larger size enables separation from other similar species in the genus Thymelicus.

Habitat Requirements

Grassy locations, usually amongst scub and often with damp areas. 

Larval Foodplants

Soft Rush Juncus effusus, Common Bent Agrostis capillaris, Heath False-brome Brachypodium pinnatum, False Brome Brachypodium sylvaticum, Wood Small-reed Calamagrostis epigejos, Cock's-foot Dactylis glomerata subsp. hispanica, Common Couch Elytrigia repens, Festuca arundinacea, Festuca arundinacea subsp. atlantigena, Yorkshire-fog Holcus lanatus, Annual Meadow Grass Poa annua, Bulbous Meadow Grass Poa bulbosa, Poa cephalonica, Poa compressa, Poa glauca, Poa infirma, Poa jubata, Poa maroccana, Poa perligularis, Poa timoleontis, Rough Meadow-grass Poa trivialis.


This butterfly is a powerful flyer and males demonstrate territorial behaviour. It seems to be more frequently encountered resting on foliage, rather than on flowers, although it will nectar on flowers such as Scabious.

*The information provided in the tables below is based on verified sightings of the Large Skipper submitted via this website since 1st January 2021.

First and Last Sightings

Year First Last/latest # Days
2023 04/05/2023 24/10/2023 173 days
2022 04/05/2022 21/10/2022 170 days
2021 06/04/2021 25/10/2021 202 days

Number of Observations

Year Number of observations
2023 286
2022 164
2021 117
Grand Total 567

Distribution Map

Distribution maps for this species are currently unavailable.

Flight Times for the Large Skipper (2023)

The chart below shows flight data by month for 2023

Flight Times for the Large Skipper (All Data)

The chart below shows flight data by month since 1st January 2021


  • Vernacular/Common Name: Large Skipper
  • Family: Hesperiidae (Latreille, 1809)
  • Sub-family: Hesperiinae (Latreille, 1809 )
  • Tribe: Hesperiini (Latreille 1809)
  • Genus: Ochlodes (Scudder, 1872)
  • Species: sylvanus (Esper, 1777)


For a list of references, please see our bibliography page.