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Chequered Skipper (Carterocephalus palaemon)

On this page, we have made available all the information we have for this species

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Picture of Chequered Skipper
© Eddie John

In Scotland the Chequered Skipper occurs in distinct colonies in sheltered uncut damp grassland where its foodplant Purple Moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) grows, particularly on the edges of open broadleaved woodland. On former English sites it occurred in woodland rides and glades and similar situations where Wood False Brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) was its main foodplant (For further details on this species see

Family : Hesperiidae

Status : Rapid decline

Status details :
Status since 2003 is Rapid decline with a decrease of -81.9%
Status over the last 20 years is Rapid decline with a decrease of -81.9%
Status over the last 10 years is Rapid decline with a decrease of -72.4%

Log collated index plot

Species Log Collated Index Plot

This chart shows the index of abundance (LCI = Log Collated Index) over time. It shows fluctuations in populations from year to year, and is scaled so that the average index over the whole series is equal to 2 (horizontal line). For greater detail about how this index is derived, click on the green question mark above.

Trend description :
Since monitoring began the Chequered Skipper has only been recorded at eleven different UKBMS sites. Of these only five sites have enough data to identify trends. The population is considered stable at three of these, including Ariundle where has it been recorded for the greatest number of years, and is declining at the other two.

This map shows the distribution between 1995 and 2016. Data is derived from the Butterflies for the New Millenium dataset via the NBN Gateway

Phenology plot
Species Phenology Plot

Phenology plot

This chart shows the average number of butterflies seen on transects between Arpil and October across all sites (fitted values from a Generalised Additive Model). The blue line gives average counts over the full BMS series (1976 to date) and the red line gives the average for the last year.

Species abundance map


This map shows symbols for the mean abundance at transect sites, with the colour of the symbol reflecting the level of abundance. Means are over all years. Grey background squares are the occupied cells as shown by the Butterflies for the New Millenium over the previous ten year period.


In total, Chequered Skipper has been recorded from 60 transects in the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. Of these, annual indices of abundance have been calculated from 10 sites, with an average index of 0 individuals per site.

For 0 of these sites, Chequered Skipper has been recorded well enough to calculate annual indices of abundance in more years, allowing trends to be calculated.

In 2016, 160 individuals were recorded from 5 sites, producing annual indices at 5 of these.

The UKBMS is run by  Butterfly Conservation (BC), the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), in partnership with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), and supported and steered by Forestry Commission (FC),  Natural England (NE), Natural Resources Wales (NRW), Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). The UKBMS is indebted to all volunteers who contribute data to the scheme.