Sage Skipper

Muschampia proto


HOME
Muschampia proto

Male, Córdoba, July 2017

Muschampia proto

Male, Córdoba, July 2017

Muschampia proto

Male, Málaga, August 2020

Muschampia proto

Male, Málaga, July 2021

Muschampia proto

Male, Málaga, July 2021

Muschampia proto

Male, Córdoba, July 2017

Muschampia proto

Female, Córdoba, July 2017

Muschampia proto

Córdoba, July 2017

Muschampia proto

Córdoba, July 2017

Muschampia proto

Córdoba, July 2017

Muschampia proto

Córdoba, July 2017



Gibraltar, 1983

Muschampia proto distribution

Distribution

This is a common skipper of Iberia, the South of France and other parts of the Mediterranean region. I find it in high summer in desiccated, grassy and thorny scrub, where it will nectar even in the heat of the day. My first encounters with it were in 1983, when I lived in Gibraltar and saw it on many of the south-facing slopes, including some of the garden regions in town. Around Córdoba in July 2017, when temperatures were peaking at 48°C, it was the only butterfly to be seen brazenly out in the midday sun, as it was in Málaga in July 2020, both at sea level and up in the hills.

Muschampia species are characterised by the absence of white spots at the base of the trailing edge of the underside hindwing. The white spots above this, towards the costa, simply peter out as you move towards the trailing edge. In the sage skipper, the underside hindwing is yellow-buff, though in other European species - the tessellated skipper, Muschampia tessellum, from the Balkans, and the spinose skipper, Muschampia cribellum, from the Balkans, Hungary and Romania - it is more olive in tone. The upperside of the sage skipper is liberally suffused with bright hairs, giving a very characteristic appearance, and the upperside hindwing is strongly marked, with a conspicuous central band.

Adults fly in a single, protracted generation from April to October. Eggs are laid on various species of Phlomis. The sage skipper hibernates either as an egg or as a larva.