Small Skipper

Thymelicus sylvestris (Poda, 1761)



A small yellowish-brown,  butterfly, with a short antenna. The underside is plain without any markings. It can easily be confused with T. acteon. The males have a black androconial streak on the upperside forewing, which is long and curved but long and slender in T. acteon. The females are similar but without the black androconial streak.

Habitat Requirements

Forests, grasslands, agriculture and urban habitats which are rich in flowers.

Larval Foodplants

False Brome Brachypodium sylvaticum, Yorkshire-fog Holcus lanatus.


A fast flying butterfly, which is sometimes territorial. It often takes nectar from Thistles, Vetches and Scabious - all of which are purple flowers.

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

First and Last Sightings

Year First Last/latest # Days
2023 05/05/2023 14/10/2023 162 days
2022 07/05/2022 05/10/2022 151 days
2021 14/05/2021 10/10/2021 149 days

Number of Observations

Year Number of observations
2023 91
2022 90
2021 202
Grand Total 383

Distribution Map

Distribution maps for this species are currently unavailable.

Flight Times for the Small Skipper (2023)

The chart below shows flight data by month for 2023

Flight Times for the Small Skipper (All Data)

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


  • Vernacular/Common Name: Small Skipper
  • Family: Hesperiidae (Latreille, 1809)
  • Sub-family: Hesperiinae (Latreille, 1809 )
  • Tribe: Thymelicini (Tutt 1905)
  • Genus: Thymelicus (Hübner, 1819)
  • Species: sylvestris (Poda, 1761)


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