Cinqfoil Skipper

Pyrgus cirsii


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Pyrgus cirsii

Male, France, August 2009

Pyrgus cirsii

Male, France, August 2009

Pyrgus cirsii

Male, France, August 2009

Pyrgus cirsii

Female, France, August 2009

Pyrgus cirsii

Female, France, August 2009

Pyrgus cirsii

Male, France, August 2009

Pyrgus cirsii distribution

Distribution

Older books treat the cinqfoil skipper as a subspecies of carline skipper, though it is really quite a different butterfly. Modern authors all regard it as a separate species. It is said to be widespread and common in Spain (the latest Kudrna atlas shows no records for Portugal) and the South of France but it is very local, scarce and declining elsewhere. It is very scarce indeed in western Switzerland. It is a butterfly of hot, dry grassland, associated with hills but less montane than the carline skipper.

The upperside markings are strong and blocked - the cell spot on the forewing being noticeably thick and rectangular. The discal spots in ss.1 and 2 are conflated into a characteristic, sinuous, 'waving flag' motif. The upperside hindwing markings are bold and complete, but distinctly off-white (unlike the grizzled skipper, in which they are very white). The underside hindwing is orange in tone with clear venation and the marginal spot in s.5 is rather short and squat (long and rectangular in carline skipper). Altogether, although this species is essentially a typical Pyrgus skipper and really not very different from the general pattern, it is surprisingly distinctive. All the pictures above were taken at a known colony and there is no doubt about their identity.

The foodplants are various Potentilla species and the caterpillar hibernates fully formed inside the egg. The adults fly in July and August.