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Large Skipper Butterfly

Ochlodes sylvanus

Large Skipper Butterfly, Large Skipper

A close up photograph of a large skipper Ochlodes sylvanus on a blade of grass

Ochlodes sylvanus 01 (HS)

by Harald Süpfle. CC BY-SA 3.0

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The Large Skipper butterfly is the largest golden skipper in the UK. It looks strikingly similar to the small skipper but can be distinguished by the checkering on both its wings. Like all skippers, the males possess an additional black hairstreak on the fronts of the wings containing pheromones. These streaks incorporate specialised scented-scales that are used to attract potential mates. Spot these butterflies basking in habitats with plentiful grass and caterpillar foodplants; which include cocks-foot, purple moor grass, bramble and false broom.
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A meadow-loving butterfly that's an important pollinator of wildflowers.


Emerged adult wings are vividly orange with brown checkering along the rear end of the wings. At rest, the species wings are placed against the body in a moth-like fashion, a characteristic not seen in other butterfly families. Males possess a black streak on the forewing. The underwing displays pale brown spots, unlike the Essex skipper that has silver spots. The larvae, or caterpillars, are plump and pale green with blackheads. The body's covered in faint, segmental banding with tiny black speckles. Pupae, or cocoons, are constructed with silk and grass blades, eventually turning black and around 2cm. Eggs are laid singularly on blades of grass. They're pearly white and tiny, and difficult to see with the naked eye.











A widespread butterfly present across Europe and Northern Asia.

Biological treatment

Butterflies are considered important pollinators. Unfortunately, the larvae or caterpillars of various butterfly species can sometimes be pests during years where conditions are optimum for their breeding. If in high abundance, caterpillars may be picked off using gloves and moved to a weed or put on a bird table.

Chemical treatment

These butterflies will sometimes visit gardens, but they tend to concentrate in areas where there's a variety of long grasses. It's not advised to treat gardens with these butterflies because of the beneficial services they provide.



Brachypodium spp.


Dactylis spp.

Some Molinia caerulea subsp. caerulea 'Dauerstrahl' grass in the wild

Purple Moor Grass 'Dauerstrahl'

Molinia caerulea 'Dauerstrahl'

Feather Reed-Grass

Calamagrostis spp.

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