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Small Skipper   <>   Thymelicus sylvestris


  Small Skipper                               ©DHardiman 2012   Male Small Skipper                      ©DHardiman 2012




A photograph of a skipper taken in the Timahoe-Drehid area, on 24 July 2011, appeared to be that of the Small Skipper and fieldwork carried out in 2012 confirmed the presence of a population of the species in Co Kildare.
The Small Skipper was found at low density over a distance of more than two kilometres along the corridor of the abandoned Bórd na Móna Industrial railway which intersects the road from Drehid Cross to Timahoe Cross.

It is widely distributed in England and Wales and in the past decades has spread northwards and into Scotland. It is found throughout mainland Europe, North Africa and eastwards to Iran.


Typical habitat of the Small Skipper includes rough tall grassland, verges, open fields and woodland rides. In Britain it shares the same habitats as the Essex Skipper (Thymelicus lineola) and as the two species are so very similar in appearance they are often not distinguished in the field.

Larval Food Plant:

Its preferred larval food plant is Yorkshire Fog (Holcus lanatus) and others include Timothy and False Brome and since these grasses are common in Ireland it is considered that this species, if left to its own devices, will eventually become widespread.


   Female Small Skipper                                           ©DHardiman 2012


   Typical Habitat of Small Skipper                                               ©DHardiman 2012