Cinquefoil Skipper (Pyrgus cirsii)
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2022 photographs highlighted in blue. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.
Probably the easiest Pyrgus to identify, from either the upperside or underside. It is a late emerger, the flight period being from late July to September, and, although the altitude range is 0-1500m, I find it most frequently at medium altitudes. The upf markings are very strong and clear, especially the cell spot which is usually wide and rectangular, and the post-discal spots in s1 and s2 which are usually joined but offset, in a way that is often described as sinuous or a waving flag. The uph marks are usually pale yellow and very cleanly defined.
The unh ground colour is reddish-brown, often a very warm reddish. The veins are usually prominent and the marginal mark on v5 is usually characteristically washed-over reddish. The mark in discal s1 is a bump seriously leaning basally.
However, a note of caution - it is perhaps the Pyrgus species most subject to variation, and this is a genus that is more prone to variation than others.
showing the upf white marks large and strong and clearly defined, especially the rectangular cell spot, which is slightly concave internally in the lower half. The white post-discal spots in s1/2 are joined and slightly offset, slightly "sinuous".
|34264||M||a male, less boldly marked than is usual for this species. The upf cell spot is narrower than would be expected and the post-discal spots in s1/2 are not quite joined in the usual way.||680|
|42049||M||a male with rather weaker forewing markings than would be expected for this species.||680|
|42135||M||a strongly-marked male with a rather warm dark brown ground colour.||780|
|42160||M||a typically-marked male with a rather cold dark brown ground colour.||780|
|50473||M||a male, quite warm colouring, and typically marked except perhaps that the upf cell spot is a little narrow.||780|
|42093||F||a female, quite pale and weakly marked for this species.||680|
|42147||F||a female, with a cold dark brown ground colour giving clear contrast with the white markings.||780|
a beautifully marked female, very fresh, with superb contrasting markings. Who says Pyrgus can't be appealing? The strong upf white markings and pale uph markings are characteristic of cirsii, strong even for a female.
a female, one of a mating pair, the male being just visible underneath.
|45047||F||a female, with a strongish cell spot but very weak marks in s1/2 which are very uncharacteristic of cirsii. This may somehow be a result of the very long hot and dry summer of 2017 which may have had an impact on development.||780|
showing the strong reddish brown colouring and the features described above.
clearly a male as it is taking salts and the hairtuft at the end of the abdomen is clearly visible. The ground colour is quite a pale reddish-brown, almost yellowish, but the markings are totally characteristic of cirsii.
guessing it's a male as it appears to be taking salts. I originally thought this
was onopordi for several reasons: the
unh discal mark in s4/5 was
clearly anvil-shaped; the discal mark in s1 is almost a perfect "signe de Blachier";
several of the white marks are black-edged giving
a marbled effect.
However, that was in 2006, and subsequent experience has indicated that the presence of an "anvil" does not definitively confirm onopordi, and that cirsii can be similarly marked, although the internal edge of cirsii anvils tends to be less concave than onopordi anvils. Plus the circumstantial evidence that 3550 was photographed 30 seconds before 3552 and is almost certainly the same butterfly (why didn't I notice that?), and the location was at 800m altitude, as expected for cirsii and way above the range I have found for the lowland onopordi.
a mating pair, the underside being that of the female. It is exceptionally reddish, and beautifully marked.