Undersides of same mating pair, this time with the male on the left,
showing the tuft of abdominal hairs
I have little experience
with this skipper, formerly known as Pyrgus foulquieri.
The only place I have seen it is in the Val d'Aran, in the Spanish
Pyrenees, where it seems to fly rather locally between about 1500m and
1800m. In general, difficulties in identifying Pyrgus
butterflies without killing them mean that their distributions are more
poorly mapped than those of other groups, but recent books seem to show
this species as more widespread than previously supposed, flying in the
Pyrenees, Cataluņa and northern Spain (according to the latest Kudrna
maps), as well as rather widely in south-eastern France (and over the
border into northern Italy) and central Italy.
The male has very hairy bases to the forewings and conspicuous tufts of
hair at and beneath the tip of the abdomen. Otherwise, the upperside is
similar to that of the Spanish and Italian subspecies of large grizzled
skipper, with strong markings on the forewings and complete but rather
obscure markings on the hindwings. In the male in particular, the
forewing spots leak outward along the veins, like wet pain in cracks in
wood. The underside is similar to that of large grizzled skipper.
The larvae feed on various species of rock rose and it is this
stage that hibernates. The adults fly in July and August in grassland
and grassy hillsides with lots of flowers.