A small dark brown butterfly, with clear white marks on its wings. The white postdiscal spots on the forewing upperside in S4 and S5 are not contiguous with the spots in S6 to S8 (near the tip of the wing), which enables separation from the similar species in the genera Carcharodus and Muschampia. Also, the submarginal spots are normally present. On the underside of the hindwing, the ground colour is reddish-brown, and the white basal spot in S7 (font) is smaller than the other two, whereas in P. armoricanus they are the same size. Male and female are similar.
Generalised wing venation diagram
A generalised diagram of butterfly wing venation, with anatomical labels - by Gillian Elsom.
Hesperiidae wing venation diagram
The wing venation of a Grizzled Skipper butterfly Pyrgus malvae an example of a butterfly from the family Hesperiidae - by Gillian Elsom.
In the UK this species occupies a range of different habitats, including: woodland glades, coastal dunes, grasslands and even brown-field sites. However, on closer examination the fine scale structure of the niche occupied by this butterfly is the same in each of these habitats. In the UK the Grizzled Skipper is a thermally restricted species and so the females oviposit in locations that aid the development of both the ova and the larva, by choosing areas where microtopography manipulates temperature at ground level.
In Corfu where the temperatures are much higher it is difficult to understand why this species is encountered so irregularly. Whilst Rubus maybe utilised as a host plant, this usually only takes place in the late instars, when the mouth parts of the larvae are large enough to cut through the tough foliage of the plant.