Chequered skipper (Carterocephalus palaemon)

The Chequered Skipper (Carterocephalus palaemon) is a small and distinctive butterfly species belonging to the family Hesperiidae. Here are some key features and characteristics of the Chequered Skipper:

  1. Appearance: The Chequered Skipper has a wingspan of about 2.5 to 3 centimeters (1 to 1.2 inches). It has a relatively robust body and short wings with a distinctive black-and-white checkered pattern on the upper side of its wings. The underside of the wings is typically a pale yellow or cream color with dark markings.
  2. Habitat: Chequered Skippers are primarily found in grassy habitats with abundant vegetation, including woodland clearings, meadows, moorlands, and scrublands. They are often associated with areas where their larval host plants, such as purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea) and false brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum), are present.
  3. Distribution: The Chequered Skipper is native to Europe and parts of Asia. It is particularly associated with northern and central Europe, including the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, and parts of Russia. However, its range has declined in some regions due to habitat loss and fragmentation.
  4. Life Cycle: Chequered Skippers undergo complete metamorphosis, with four distinct life stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), and adult butterfly. The eggs are typically laid on or near the larval host plants, where the larvae hatch and feed on the leaves. The pupa stage occurs inside a protective cocoon, and adult butterflies emerge after a few weeks.
  5. Diet: The larvae of Chequered Skippers feed on various grass species, particularly purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea) and false brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum). Adult butterflies primarily feed on the nectar of flowers, including those of wildflowers such as thistles, knapweeds, and vetches.
  6. Behavior: Chequered Skippers are relatively fast and agile flyers, with a characteristic skipping flight pattern that gives them their name. They are most active during warm, sunny days, when they can be observed feeding on flowers and patrolling their territory in search of mates.
  7. Conservation: The Chequered Skipper is considered to be of conservation concern in many parts of its range due to habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and changes in land management practices. Conservation efforts focused on restoring and maintaining suitable habitats, including the creation of grassland corridors and protected areas, are important for the long-term survival of this species.

Overall, the Chequered Skipper is a beautiful and charismatic butterfly species valued for its unique appearance and ecological role as a pollinator and indicator of habitat quality. Efforts to conserve and protect its habitats are crucial for ensuring its continued presence in the wild.

Subscribe to the newsletter: