Mexico, USA & Canada
Family - HESPERIIDAE
In the Americas there are 2365 known species of
Hesperiidae. These are split into 5 subfamilies i.e. Pyrrhopyginae,
Heteropterinae, Megathyminae, Pyrginae and Hesperiinae.
Hesperiines of which there are about 1040 species, are known as
Grass Skippers because their larvae feed on grasses, bamboos and
There are 11 species in the genus Thymelicus.
species is endemic to north Africa, 7 are native to temperate Asia,
and 2 are found in both Europe and north Africa. The remaining
species lineola is native to Europe,
temperate Asia and the Mediterranean coast of north Africa, but was
accidentally introduced to Canada in 1910. It showed a remarkable
ability to colonise, and within a few decades had spread across much
of North America. It is believed that the major cause of this
expansion was the transportation of lineola
eggs in hay bales - in one study over 5000 eggs were found in a
is now common across the eastern half of the USA, and has formed
small colonies as far west as Washington.
© Adrian Hoskins
species is found in rough grassy habitats including dry meadows,
woodland clearings, coastal dunes, roadsides and railway
© Adrian Hoskins
The eggs are
lozenge-shaped and milky white in colour. They are laid in strings
of 3 or 4, inserted into the flower sheaths of various grasses,
primarily Phleum ( Poaceae ).The eggs
are laid in July, and by early August the tiny larvae are fully
developed, but do not hatch until the following spring.
larva lives within a shelter made by rolling a blade of grass into a
tube, which is held together with strands of silk. It hides within
the tube during the daytime, and feeds at dusk, although fully grown
caterpillars can sometimes by found basking in full sunlight on
grass blades. The chrysalis thin and green, and has white palpi. It
is formed within a very loose shelter constructed by spinning
together rolled grass blades at the base of a tussock.
common with most other grass-feeding skippers the butterflies have a
rapid, buzzing, purposeful flight, 'skipping' from flower to flower.
They nectar at a wide range of wild flowers including