Large skipper

Large Skipper

©Rachel Scopes

Large skipper

Scientific name: Ochlodes sylvanus
As its name suggests, the Large skipper is bigger than the similar-looking Small skipper! It can be seen in summer, resting on the long grass of grasslands, woodlands, verges and sand dunes.

Species information


Wingspan: 2.9-3.6cm

Conservation status


When to see

June to August


The Large skipper is a small, orange butterfly, similar to the Small skipper. Adults fly between June and August, when they can often be seen resting in sunny positions and long grass, or feeding on flowers such as Bramble. Large skippers can be found on rough grassland and sand dunes, along roadside verges and woodland edges, in large gardens, or anywhere else with plenty of grasses. They lay their eggs on grass blades. Foodplants of the caterpillars include Cock's-foot, Purple Moor-grass and False broom.

How to identify

The Large skipper has russet-brown wings edged with large, dark brown patches and dotted with small, light orange patches. This pattern helps distinguish them from the Small and Essex skippers. Males have a small black stripe in the middle of their forewings.


Found in England, Wales and southern parts of Scotland.

Did you know?

Large skipper caterpillars hatch in late June and feed until September. They go into hibernation as a half-grown larva, emerging the following spring to feed and metamorphose.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland and woodland habitats sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of butterflies, including the Large skipper. Careful grazing with traditional breeds, hay-cutting at the right time, scrub clearance and coppicing are just some of the ways grasslands and woodlands are kept in good condition - supporting invertebrates and, in turn, the larger animals that prey on them. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.