Cycle of the Small
The newly laid egg is pale green and nearly spherical, measuring c.0.7 mm in height.
The eggs are laid singly in summer and again in autumn on blades
of various grasses, gradually becoming
translucent white with rusty mottling before hatching after c.14
The adult larva measures up to 20 mm in length and tapers towards
The body is green with a dark-green mediodorsal line on either side
of which is a dark-edged whitish line.
A greenish-white line extends along each side below the level of the
The head is rounded and green and the anal points are pinkish.
There are two broods annually and possibly a third lasting into
After hatching the larvae feed on various grasses. They rise
to the top of the plant to feed by night
and rest at its base by day.
Larvae of the first generation are fully grown in c.5
weeks and go on to pupate, producing adult
butterflies the following August and September.
Most of the second generation larvae, after feeding and growth, go
into hibernation, Overwintering
late-instars about September/October and completing their
development the following spring. They
change to feeding by day and, when fully grown, go on to
pupate about April.
The pupae are suspended from the stems of the foodplant and
butterflies emerge within c. 3 weeks.
Adults are seen on the wing from the end May to mid-July and from early
August to early October.
In some locations a third brood may occur, lasting into October.
When there is more than one annual brood
the adult flight periods may overlap and are thus difficult to
They feed on a variety of flowers.