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.