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Thymelicus lineola

(Ochsenheimer, 1808)

  • Subfamily: Hesperiinae
  • Wingspan: 25-29 mm
  • Flight period: May-Lug
  • Spread: Common
  • Host plants: Poaceae


The Thymelicus lineola also called Essex Skipper is a butterfly in the Hesperiidae family with a wingspan of 25-29 mm. It is a butterfly distributed in most of the Palearctic region, in Europe it is widespread from southern Scandinavia to the Mediterranean area (with the exception of Ireland, Iceland and Cyprus), further south in North Africa and east in Central Asia. In Italy and date present everywhere with the exception of Sardinia *, but some reports in the Nuorese and Ogliastra areas suggest its presence also on this island. **
It was accidentally introduced in the United States in 1910. ***

With the upper part of the bright brown-orange wings it is very similar in appearance to Thymelicus sylvestris , but it can be distinguished thanks to the underside of the tip of the antennae, which in Thymelicus lineola are black, while in the Thymelicus sylvestris are orange in color.

The caterpillars are green with a darker topline and yellow lateral lines. They emerge in spring and feed until late June before the formation of shelters with leaves tied by silk at the base of the host plants, in preparation for pupation.

The main host plant is Dactylis glomerata, but it is also found on other Poaceae such as Alopecurus pratensis, Brachypodium pinnatum, Brachypodium sylvaticum, Dactylis glomerata, Elymus repens, Holcus mollis, Phleum pratense.

* Lepidoptera mundi - European Fauna
*** "European Skipper". Butterflies and Moths of North America. Retrieved 14 May 2010.

Thymelicus lineola
Thymelicus lineola
Thymelicus lineola