Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris)

Species description
© - Nick Greatorex-Davies

The Small Skipper is a common butterfly of open uncut grassland where it lives in self-contained colonies. Yorkshire Fog (Holcus lanatus) is the favoured hostplant. The butterfly is expanding its range northwards n Britain. (For further details on this species see

Trend summary

Status since 1976 is Rapid decline with a decrease of -75.0%
Status over the last 20 years is Rapid decline with a decrease of -44.0%
Status over the last 10 years is Stable with a increase of 67.9%

Log Collated

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). Further details on the analysis of UKBMS data can be found [here]

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.

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.