Foulquier's Grizzled Skipper

Pyrgus bellieri


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Male, Spain, July 2011

Mating pair, male on right, Spain, July 2011

Undersides of same mating pair, this time with the male on the left, showing the tuft of abdominal hairs

Pyrgus bellieri


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.