Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae/malvoides)

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2016 photographs highlighted in green. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

14714_male_Var_22Apr09 16790_male_Alpes-Maritimes_27Jun09 05_16-32_male_Hautes-Alpes_5Jun05
40250_male_Var_23Apr16 40353_male_Var_29Apr16 40874_male_Alpes-Maritimes_3Jul16
31324_female_Savoie_18Jul12 28852_female_Var_26Apr12 10596_female_Var_19May08
14468_male_Rhône_12Apr09 32522_male_Alpes-Maritimes_2Jun13 34665_male_Var_3May14
One of several Pyrgus species that occur in France, but the only representative of this group in the UK. Malvae is slightly smaller than most other Pyrgus, and rather darker. The white marks are quite extensive, more so than most Pyrgus, and the (usually arched) submarginal marks are usually present to a greater or lesser degree, strongly on the uph and to a lesser extent on the upf. It is an early emerger, being on the wing in France from the end of April and single-brooded, although malvoides (see opposite) is double brooded in non-mountainous regions. I feel the cleft "clothes peg" discal mark, which appears on both the uph and the unh, is a clear indicator of malvae where there may otherwise be doubt. In addition, the underside is quite dark brown with pronounced yellower veins and distinctly smaller marks than other Pyrgus. In south-west Europe, including the southern half of France, the subspecies malvoides occurs in place of malvae. It is generally said to be indistinguishable from malvae on external characteristics (only by examination of the genitalia) although I have seen it commented that the upperside submarginal marks are less distinct in malvoides. All of the photographs on this page are, I believe, malvoides, (with the possible exception of 14468) and this feature seems to hold true here. It is suggested that intermediate forms may occur in the boundary area in central France. In the new European taxonomy, malvoides is now given the status of a species in its own right, no longer a subspecies of malvae.
ref sex

observations

alt. m
14714 M

rather indistinct white markings in the usual places and some rather faint markings in the remaining areas.

220
16790 M

a deep dark brown ground colour and strong white markings plus a white-ish band in the upf submarginal area. As such it could not be confused with any other Pyrgus species.

900
05_16-32 M

the rare aberration taras with extended white upf marks, which I have now seen on two occasions.

 
40250 M a typically-marked male with a cold grey-brown ground colour. 140
40353 M a male with a rather large cell spot and an untypical warmish brown ground colour. 220
40874 M a male from high altitude with extensive white markings, giving it a rather pale appearance. 2300
31324 F a typical malvae, probably a female based on the body shape. 2180
28852 F

a rather worn female, but included here because of the large upf marks, especially the cell spot.

220
10596 F

very sharply marked with highly sagittate submarginal markings, especially on the uph. A rather more worn male is approaching from below.

230
14468 M?

a male, I think, even though the abdominal hair tuft is not entirely clear. The small discrete white marks show up well against the darker ground colour.

320
32522 M a male, roosting in overcast conditions. The unh ground colour is quite dark and reddish for this species. 1080
34665 M a male roosting is overcast conditions. The markings are quite large by malvae standards and some of them are nicely black-edged, especially the discal mark in s4/5. The photograph was taken in very poor light using ISO 800 (I usually use ISO 100), hence the grainy nature of the photograph. 220

 

14714_male_Var_22Apr09

 

16790_male_Alpes-Maritimes_27Jun09

 

05_16-32_male_Hautes-Alpes_5Jun05

 

40250_male_Var_23Apr16

 

40353_male_Var_29Apr16

 

40874_male_Alpes-Maritimes_3Jul16

 

31324_male_Savoie_18Jul12

 

28852_female_Var_26Apr12

 

10596_female_Var_19May08

 

14468_male_Rhône_12Apr09

 

32522_male_Alpes-Maritimes_2Jun13

 

34665_male_Var_3May14